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BULLETIN, 1915, NO. 12 - - - - - - WHOLE NUMBER 637 



























'" 't^^mml No. 27. History of Public School Education in Arkansas. 
In preparation: 

History ol Public Scbool Education in Tennessee. 

JUN 18 1915 


Letter of transmittal 5 

Chapter I. — Evolution of the State 7 

Growth of population of Alabama, 1800-1910 9 

First centers of American settlement 11 

The lines of travel and the influence of roads on settlement. 12 

The distribution of incoming settlers 14 

Chapter II. — Private schools before the Civil War 16 

Schools supported from private sources 17 

Schools supported in part out of public funds 23 

Chapter III. — ^Administration of the sixteenth sections, 1819-1914 26 

The laws of the thirties and the failure of the State bank 27 

Judge Porter's bill in 1847-48 30 

Proposed consolidation, 1852-53 33 

Transfer of management to State superintendent, 1854 35 

Auditor Reynolds's strictures, 1869 36 

The law of 1881 lays foundation of a State fund 38 

The act of 1899 and the case of Alabama v. Schmidt 39 

Principal of the sixteenth section fund, 1851 and 1912 41 

Chapter IV.— The rise of public schools in Mobile, 1826-1865 42 

Public schools reorganized, 1852 44 

Development, 1853-1865 45 

Chapter V. — The experimental period in the organization of a State system, 

1819-1854 48 

The laws of 1839^0 49 

Messages of Gov. Chapman and Gov. Collier in 1849 51 

The house report of 1851-52 53 

Gen. Perry's reminiscences 56 

Chapter VI. — Organization of the public-school system, 1854-1856 58 

Meek's report on education 59 

The act of February 15, 1854 60 

W. F. Perry chosen first State superintendent 63 

The course of study and textbooks 65 

The amended act of February 14, 1856 67 

Chapter VII.— The work of the public schools, 1856-1865 69 

The condition of schoolhouses 70 

Indifference of the people and weakness of the law 71 

Equalization and distribution of the sixteenth-section fund 74 

The Alabama educational association and the educational press 76 

Gabriel B, Duval becomes the second superintendent 77 

The Civil War and after 80 

Chapter VIII. — Reconstruction in the public schools, 1865-1876 84 

I. The intermediate period, 1865-1868 " 84 

II. The old regime and the new, 1868-1876 87 

The State board of education 88 

Reorganization and new legislation 89 

The contest for supremacy in Mobile 90 

Income, misappropriations and investigations 93 

Conservatives in power, 1870; economy and reform 96 



Chapter VIII. — Reconstruction in the public schools, 1865-1876 — Continued. page. 

III. School legislation in 1872, 1873, and 1875 101 

Law of December 14, 1872, practically suspends schools for 1873 101 

The appeal of the State board of education; arrears 103 

Act of March 8, 1875, and constitution of 1875 reduce school fund 110 

The general situation in 1874-1876 Ill 

Chapter IX. — Reorganization and advance, 1876-1898 114 

I. The constitution of 1875 114 

II. The school codes of 1877 and 1879 116 

The administration of Leroy F. Box, 1876-1880 118 

III. Progress in the eighties 119 

The administration of Henry Clay Armstrong, 1880-1884 119 

The administration of Solomon Palmer, 1884-1890 120 

Rise of the special school district 122 

Local taxation and the rise of city systems 123 

IV.. The Hundley amendment and after 127 

The administration of John Gideon Harris, 1890-1894 127 

The administration of John Orman Turner, 1894-1898 131 

Chapter X.— The awakening, 1898-1914 135 

I. The beginning of a new era 135 

The administration of John W. Abercrombie, 1898-1902 136 

II. The constitution of 1901 140 

III. Contemporaneous conditions and progress. 142 

The administration of Isaac W. Hill, 1902-1906 142 

The administration of Harry C. Gunnels, 1906-1910; of Henry J. Wil- 

lingham, 1910-1913; and of William F. Feagin, 1913 to date 146 

Chapter XI. — Miscellaneous and supplementary agencies 155 

I. Normal schools and other normal agencies 155 

II. City schools 162 

III. Negro schools 168 

IV. Rural schoolhouses; rural supervision and school improvement asso- 
ciations 172 

V. Rural school libraries and library organization 177 

VI. District agricultural schools 178 

VII. Industrial education 182 

VIII. The county high schools 184 

Chapter XII. — Looking from the past and into the future 187 

Public school statistics, 1855-1914 197 

I. School population, teachers, property, and school year 197 

II. Enrollment and attendance 198 

III. School revenues 199 

IV. School expenditures 200 

V. Tax valuation . 202 

Addendum 202 

Bibliography 203 

Index 207 


Department of the Interior, 

Bureau of Education, 

Washington, February 19, 1915, 
Sir : I submit herewith for pubHcation as a bulletin of the Bureau 
of Education a brief account of the progress of education in the State 
of Alabama. This is the second in the series of brief histories of edu- 
cation in some of the States of the Union which this bureau is having 
prepared by and under the direction of Dr. Stephen B. Weeks, of this 
bureau, for the purpose of providing accurate information for the 
future historian, and the still more important purpose of helping 
those who are now working for the improvement of education in the 
States, as set forth in my letter transmitting the manuscript of 
Bulletin, 1912, No. 27. 
Respectfully submitted. 

P. P. Claxton, 


The Secretary of the Interior. 




The compiler wishes to acknowledge with thanks many courtesies 
which he has received from citizens of Alabama during the prepara- 
tion of this bulletin. Supt. John H. PhiUips, of Birmingham; Mr. 
Henry J. Willingham, now president of the State Normal School at 
Florence; and Mr. William F. Feagin, the present State superintend- 
ent, courteously answered numerous questions; Hon. John W. Aber- 
crombie and Mr. Isaac W. Hill, former State superintendents, read 
parts of the paper and offered suggestions, while Mr. Thomas M. 
Owen, LL.D., director of the State department of archives and 
history, put the historical material in his ofhce, including many 
pamphlets in the Curry Collection and the original manuscript letter 
books of the State superintendents down to 1873, at the service of 
the writer. Dr. Owen also read the manuscript and freely gave the 
benefits of his very wide knowledge of the subject. 



Chapter I. 

The territory included within the present State of Alabama lies 
between 30° 13' and 35° north latitude and between 84° 51' and 88° 31' 
west longitude. It has a total land and water area of 51,998 square 
mileS; and was first visited by De Naryaez and later explored by 
De Soto (1540) ; but the Spaniards made no attempt at settlement and 
for more than a hundred years there was no other visit to the ter- 
ritory by white men. Then came La Salle, with his idea of a French 
empire extending through the heart of North America, the Mississippi 
to be the main artery of commerce, and a chain of forts to connect 
Canada and Louisiana (1682). Under the impetus of this idea came 
the settlement at Biloxi in 1699 and that at Twenty-seven Mile 
Bluff, on Mobile River in 1702. In 1711 this latter settlement was 
moved to the present site of Mobile. This removal marks the real 
beginning of European settlement in that section of the United 
States, and Mobile was for years the center of French opposition to 
the westward thrust of the English-speaking peoples from Georgia 
and the Carohnas. 

It should be noted that the Spaniards never formally surrendered 
their claims to the country now represented by the State of Alabama, 
but included it within the ill-defined boundaries of Florida, and that 
the English made a similar claim to it as a part of their province 
of Carolana, ^Hhe east of Carolana joining to the west of Carolina," 
according to Coxe, who was the leading exponent of the Enghsh 
contention; but the French remained in actual possession of the soil 
till the peace of Paris in 1763, by the terms of which Canada and all 
of that part of Louisiana east of the Mississippi River, with the excep- 
tion of the island of Orleans, was ceded to England, and the city of 
New Orleans with all of Louisiana west of the river to Spain. By 
these cessions France was forced out of the Continent of North 
America, and the visions of La Sailers American empire vanished. 



By a treaty of 1762 East and West Florida had been ceded by Spain 
to England in exchange for Havana, and the Enghsh flag then 
waved over all the territory of North America east of the Mississippi 
except the city of New Orleans. 

In reorganizing the territory of West Florida the English in 1767 
extended its boundary northward to the Hne of 32° 28', about the 
latitude of the present city of Montgomery. The territory north of 
32° 28' was included in the English province of lUinois. During the 
American Kevolution, Bernardo Galvez, Spanish governor of Louis- 
iana, captured both Pensacola and Mobile, and by the treaty of 
Versailles in 1783 the Floridas were retroceded to Spain by England, 
which at the same time acknowledged the southern boundary of the 
United States to run down to 31°, thus ignoring her own boundary 
of West Florida and bequeathing a bone of contention to the United 
States and Spain. This territory remained a subject of dispute till 
1795, when under the Jay treaty Spain acknowledged the American 
contention for 31°, although it was not till 1798 that the Spanish 
colonial officials were forced to yield recognition of the treaty. By 
the Federal act of April 7, 1798, a territorial government was estab- 
lished for the Mississippi Territory then embraced between 31° and 
32° 28', of Uke character in all respects to that over the Northwest 
Territory, save as to the last ordinance (slavery) . A commission was 
provided by the act for settHng the contention between the United 
States and the State of Georgia over all lands lying north of 31° and 
south of the South Carolina cession of 1787 which Georgia claimed 
as a part of her territory under the original charter of Oglethorpe. In 
1802 Georgia ceded to the United States all her claims to this terri- 
tory; and in 1804 the territory between 32° 28' and 35°, including the 
strip of land 12 miles wide known as the South Carolina cession, was 
annexed to the Mississippi Territory. In 1812 Congress added to 
that Territory what was known as the district of Mobile, being the 
lands between the Pearl and the Perdido Rivers, recently taken from 
Spain and extending from the Gulf northward to EUicott's Hne in 
31°. By act of March 3, 1817, the Territory of Alabama was estab- 
lished by Congress, with boundaries corresponding to those of the 
present State. This Territory was admitted as a State of the Union 
by the act of Congress of March 2 and resolution of December 14, 


The growth in population has been as follows : 

Statistical view of growth of Alabama population, 1800-1910. 






Per cent of 


siace last 



per square 



2 1,250 


3 25,000 



590, 756 











335, 185 
662, 185 
833, 718 

119, 121 
345, 109 
437, 770 
600, 103 
4 827,307 
4 908,282 



19. 87 


















1 In 1910 land area 51,279 square miles. 

2 Mississippi Territory. 

3 In Washington County, Ala. , only. Pickett. 

4 Excludes a few Indians, Chinese, and Japanese. 

The sources of this population, as far as it concerns the older 
States, are shown for different decades in the following table, which 
includes every State which has in any decade contributed as much as 
1,000 to the State's population. 

Statistical view of the sources of Alabamans population. 



South Carolina 


North Carolina 

Virginia (and West A^irginia) 




New York 
















19, 139 
















1870 1880 1890 1900 

93, 028 


19, 797 



10, 149 














35, 764 

23, 859 
















16, 232 


Assuming these figures to be correct, and a proper foundation on 
which to base generaUzations, it is evident that in the development 
of Alabama immigration has come primarily from the States imme- 
diately adjoining; that it has been in direct proportion to distance; 
that it has been in this case, as in most others, in the main along lines 
of latitude; that the population coming into Alabama in the early 
days was distinctively southern, and that it was not till 1890 that an 
increase in the northern and western elements began to command 

- The States that seem to have contributed most to the population 
of Alabama are, in the order of importance : Georgia, South Carolina, 


Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia; these States in the four 
censuses between 1850 and 1880, stand with three exceptions in the 
above order. Two of them, Georgia and Tennessee, represent a 
migration from the neighboring older States, Virgmia and the Caro- 
linas. It is probable that an overwhelming per cent of the Alabama 
population of the ante bellum period traced its origin directly or 
indirectly to Virginia and the Carolinas, as is shown by the following 
tables : 

Total population Alabama, 1850 428, 779 

Bom in the State 236, 332 

Born out of State, but in United States 183, 913 

Born in foreign countries 7, 509 

Birthplace unknown. 1, 025 


Born outside of State, but in United States 183, 913 

Born in — 

Georgia 58, 997 

South Carolina 48, 663 

North Carolina 28, 521 

Tennessee 22, 541 

Virginia 10, 387 


Born in foreign countries 7, 509 

Born in^ — 

England 941 

Ireland 3, 63.9 

Scotland 584 

Wales 67 

Germany and Prussia 1, 112 

France 503 

Austria 33 

Switzerland 113 

Denmark, Norway, and Sweden 74 

British America 49 

7, 115 

It is thus evident that the States which in the decade between 
1840 and 1850 made the largest contribution to Alabama's population 
furnished no new ethnic elements; and that the foreign contribution 
was neither sufficient in size, nor sufficiently different in character, 
to produce variation in type. There was in general large racial 

It may be interesting to inquire at this point how and along what 
lines of travel, and over what roads, these immigrants got into Ala- 
bama. If the lines of travel and the location of earliest settlement 
are known, these facts will help explain why certain sections were in 
advance of others in the organization of schools. 

After the province of Louisiana came into the hands of the English 
as a result of the Treaty of Paris in 1763, they began to encourage 
immigration, and the first immigrants found homes not in what is 


now Alabama, but in Mississippi, coming by water up the river from 
New Orleans or by water down the Ohio and Mississippi from the 
older colonies on the Atlantic coast. 

The iiistorian Pickett, writing of the period from 1768 to 1773, 

says : 

The English authorities encouraged emigration and many availed themselves of 
their liberal offer. The first Anglo-American colony came from Roanoke, in the 
province of North Carolina, and established themselves between Manchac and Baton 
Rouge. They were followed by others from North and South Carolina, who crossed 
the mountains to Tennessee, there constructing flatboats, descended that river into 
the Ohio and thence passed down the Mississippi. Others from Georgia even cut 
through the wilderness to find the Natchez country, which had become so favorably 
known. Emigrants from Virginia came down the Ohio. They all received upon 
their arrival liberal and extensive grants. After a while emigrants came from Great 
Britain, Ireland, and the British West Indies. During the three succeeding years 
many flocked from Georgia, the Carolinas, and New Jersey, and established them- 
selves upon the soil by the Bayou Sara, the Homochitto, and Bayou Pierre. All these 
settlements extended from the Mississippi back for 15 or 20 miles. A few years after- 
wards the Scotch Highlanders from North Carolina arrived, and formed a colony upon 
the upper branch of the Homochitto, 30 miles eastward of Natchez, and their members 
were at a late period increased by others from Scotland. * ■* * in 1770 emigrants 
came from New Jersey, Delaware, and Virginia, by the way of the Ohio, and three 
years afterwards a much greater number advanced by that route. ^ 

In order to get a clearer conception of the growth of the Alabama 
country itself, it is desirable to point out ( 1) the four separate settle- 
ments within the present Alabama from which as nuclei the State 
has developed and ( 2) to indicate briefly the lines of travel by which 
these settlements were reached : 

(1) In the early days territorial Alabama was made up of four 
distinct districts, based on the river systems to which they belonged. 

(a) The oldest of these settlements was, of course, that at Mobile, 
which was founded by the French and later developed by the Enghsh 
and Spaniards. These settlers came by water. Later, Americans 
appeared and settled above and around Mobile in what is now Bald- 
win, Mobile, and Washington Counties, even before all of this had 
become American territory. In 1792, after Mobile itself, the most 
populous of these settlements was that upon the Tensas Kiver. It 
was composed of both Whigs and Loyalists, the latter having been 
driven from Georgia and the Carohnas. This settlement was reached 
overland from Georgia, the creeks and rivers being passed on rafts, 
and household and other utensils being carried on pack horses. 

{h) Next after Mobile came the American settlements on the 
Tombigbee River in the vicinity of old St. Stephens. This section 
contained the oldest American settlement in the State, and in- 
cluded a settlement of Georgians on the Alabama, a few miles above 
its confluence with the Tombigbee. This was made in 1777 and is 

1 Pickett's Alabama, Owen's ed., pp. 322-323. 


believed to be one of the earliest settlements within the present 
limits of the State. The settlers had come overland through the 
Creek country from Georgia. In 1800 these settlements were 
included within the limits of Washington County, Mississippi Ter- 
ritory (now in Alabama), and a ferry across the Alabama River over 
Nannahubba Island, which facilitated the movements of immigrants, 
had been established as early as 1797. After the opening of the 
Federal Road the ferry was moved farther north. 

From the time that the claims of Georgia to the Mississippi Ter- 
ritory were extinguished ( 1804), immigrants began to flock into what 
is now Alabama. One party left North Carolina, scaled the Blue 
Ridge with their wagons, and descended into the valley of the Ten- 
nessee. At Knoxville they built flatboats and floated down the 
river to the Muscle Shoals, where they disembarked their goods, 
placed them on pack horses which had been brought overland from 
KnoxviUe, and from the Muscle Shoals as a new basis, departed over- 
land for the English settlements on the Tombigbee, about St. Stephens, 
in southern Alabama, thus traversing in a journey of 120 days from 
North Carolina nearly the whole length of the present State from 
north to south. ^ 

(c) The northern section of Alabama, the Tennessee Valley region, 
was settled mainly from Tennessee as early as 1787, and in the 
earlier period fiUed up more rapidly than some of the other sections. 
These immigrants came overland from the Cumberland settlements 
or floated down the river in flatboats from the settlements farther 

(d) The fourth district was that along the Alabama River, with 
centers near Claiborne, in Monroe County, and along the Alabama 
River from the confluence of the Coosa and Tallapoosa Rivers down 
to and including the present city of Montgomery. This section was 
settled mainly by Georgians and Carolinians, who came in over the 
Government Road. From these four centers population grew and 
extended into the intervening sections. 

(2) The hnes of travel by which immigrants went into this new 
territory are indicated as follows: The Indians — the Creeks, Chero- 
kees, Chickasaws, and Choctaws — had some well-defined trails 
through this country, and while these trails varied somewhat from 
one period to another they became in the main the basis of the 
routes for the French and English invasion. These Indian trails 
were followed by Indian traders and these in turn by the first immi- 
grants, and in this perfectly natural way became the highways 
along which passed the settlers seeking new homes. 

It will be sufficient to consider these highways under the general 
division of northern and eastern roads. The northern route led 

1 Pickett's Alabama, Owen's ed., pp. 466-467. 


down the Tennessee River from Knoxville to the neighborhood of 
the Muscle Shoals. From the Shoals immigrants from Virginia and 
North Carolina, after floating down the Tennessee, went across the 
country with pack horses along the route later known as Gaines's 
Trace until they struck the Tombigbee at Cotton Gin Port in the 
present Monroe County, Miss., and thence to St. Stephens by water. 
On the other hand, others, instead ol taking to the Tombigbee route, 
left Gaines's Trace and went south by land over the open prairie. 

In 1801 the Government secured by treaty with the Chickasaws 
and the Choctaws the right to open a road from the Nashville country 
to the Natchez district. This road crossed the Tennessee River at 
Colbert's Ferry and was also utihzed by immigrants coming into 
Alabama from the Tennessee country. About 1805 the Government 
acquired from the Cherokees the right of way for a road from Knoxville 
down the river. This road crossed the Tennessee at the Muscle 
Shoals and then joined the Natchez Trace. 

The other great route was that which led to central Alabama from 
Georgia. It was secured by treaty with the Creeks in 1805. This 
route did not differ essentially from the older trade routes that in 
turn followed the Indian trails. The one leading to Alabama struck 
Georgia at Augusta, crossed the Savannah there, and branching, 
turned north and northwest to the Cherokee and Creek country. 
Another branch turned west to the territory of the Lower Creeks 
which it struck at the Ocmulgee. It passed old Fort Hawkins 
(near Macon) and thence to the Chattahoochee not far from the 
present Columbus, Ga. It passed to the south of Montgomery, 
along what is now the eastern boundary of Monroe County, to old 
Fort Mims, from which one arm reached out to Mobile at the south 
and the other to St. Stephens farther west, whence it passed on 
across the Choctaw country to Natchez. In the early days this 
road was in reahty a mere trail — marked by three notches cut in 
the trees. The houses of accommodation were few in number and 
indifferent in kind, being kept by Indians and halfbreeds. The 
rivers and creeks were unbridged and without ferries.^ 

With the improvement of the road by the Federal Government, 
the use of this route much increased. Hamilton says^ it became for 
Alabama what the Via Appia was for the country south of Rome, 
and Pickett tells us that by 1810 the population of Washington 
County, Ala., was about 6,000, made up of Georgians and Caroli- 
nians who had come in over the ''Three Chopped Way" from the 
east, and of Tennesseeans who had come down from the north. 

Jackson's mihtary road cut southwardly from the Tennessee 
River into the Creek country of eastern Alabama, and the ''great 

1 Pickett's Alabama, Owen's ed., 486. 

2 See Hamaton's article on early roads in Alabama, Publications Alabama Historical Society, II, 39-56. 


Tennessee road" to Jones's valley in Jefferson County made access 
to the north easier still. But these roads belong to the later period 
of development and growth, rather than to the earlier one of explora- 
tion and settlement. 

In the Memorial Record of Alabama Mr. Thomas H. Clark calls 
attention to the boat as an emblem of progress during the earlier 
days. This may be illustrated by the history of 90 barrels of flour 
sold in Montgomery in 1822. This flour was made from wheat 
grown in Washington County, Va., was ground on the Hols ton 
River 10 miles away, floated 150 miles down that river on flatboats, 
then 40 miles up the Hiwassee, then 10 miles up the Okoa (Ocoee) 
to Hildebrand's Landing, then 12 miles by portage across country 
to O'Dear's, on the Connussowga,^ thence by flatboat again into the 
Coosa, and thence to Montgomery, where it arrived after a journey 
extending from February 20 to April 27. Even this long haul 
was then found to be more profitable than to bring up freight by 
flatboat from Mobile. But this era was now passing. In 1821 a 
steamboat had arrived at Montgomery, from Mobile, in 10 days, 
and as soon as the steamboat had been adapted to commercial uses 
the problem of transportation was solved as fully as it could be 
until the coming of the railroad. 

Thus we see immigrants came into the new land by all water or 
by all land routes, and by routes that were part one and part the 
other; they came with pack horses and on foot; later with rolling 
hogsheads, even ox-drawn, and finally by wagon. They came as 
individuals, as famihes, and even as communities. They brought 
with them their institutions, culture, religion, industries, and educa- 
tion. It was a new volkerwanderung of English-speaking men. 
The instinct that for two centuries had been driving their fathers to 
America now sent them into a new wilderness in pursuit of the same 
ideals — fortune, happiness, and liberty. 

The United States Census for 1880 indicates the distribution of the 
population in Alabama from the various contributing States, and 
this may be assumed to be essentially correct for the earlier decades 
also. According to these census maps, which undertake to show the 
localities to which emigrants from the older States removed, the 
majority of the North Carolina immigrants were settled in the north- 
eastern and black-belt counties of the center. The South Caro- 
linians, spread over nearly the whole of the eastern half of the State, 
had occupied the black belt, and in considerable force had pressed 
over to the western boundary. The Virginians went into the black 
belt, occupied the eastern part of the Tennessee Valley, and made 
their homes in the southwestern comer, in Washington and Mobile 

1 During this period there was much discussion in Tennessee on the question of uniting these rivers by 
a canal. In 1826 Tennessee chartered a company to cut such a canal from the Hiwassee to the Coosa. 


Counties, for they represented a large part of the original immigrant 
settlers. The relation of Georgia to Alabama is Uke that of a natm-al 
overflow, being heaviest in the eastern haK, but reaching the western 
boundaries in considerable numbers, except in the extreme north- 
west corner and on the middle and headwaters of the Tombigbee, 
but increasing in numbers again in Washington and Mobile Counties 
in the extreme southwest and on the banks of the Perdido. 

In a preeminent degree does the Tennessee population represent 
the idea of an overflow. It was heaviest in Jackson, Lauderdale, Lime- 
stone, and Madison Counties, all of which lie north of the Tennessee 
River. The next in importance for their Tennessee population are 
Colbert, Dekalb, Lawrence, Marshall, and Morgan Counties, which 
represent the first tier of counties south of the Tennessee River. 

It seems fairly accurate to say that the various sections of the 
State during the early days had a more or less distinct and charac- 
teristic population of its own, one which was fairly differentiated 
from other communities by the source from which that population 
was derived. The one exception to this general statement is the 
black belt that lies on both sides of the Alabama River and includes 
the counties of Montgomery, Lowndes, Autauga, Dallas, Perry, 
Marengo, Hale, Greene, and Sumter. This was settled early and in 
common by immigrants mainly from Virginia and the Carolinas, who, 
being attracted by the fertiHty of the soil, brought in large bodies of 
slaves and began raising cotton. 

In the early days and until the time of the Civil War Alabama 
and Mississippi performed for the old Southwest the function which 
Ohio and Indiana performed for the old Northwest. They served 
as a stopping place, as a sort of reservoir, in which one or two genera- 
tions spent their Uves before the movement into the newer golden 
West was resumed. The census records show that migration from 
Alabama has been uniformly westward, overflowing heaviest into 
eastern Mississippi, then jumping over the high lands of the center, 
settling in the Mississippi Delta country; thence crossing the river 
into upper Louisiana and all of Arkansas, except the northern quar- 
ter, and thence into eastern Texas. 

Chapter II. 

As the majority of the first settlers of Alabama came from the 
older Southern States, they brought with them the educational sys- 
tems that there obtained. These systems produced private schools 
and academies— organized, conducted, and supported uidependently 
of any State action. The most expected from the State was incor- 
poration. This gave the trustees a legal existence, and endowed 
them with full powers to conduct their business. The first act of 
incorporation was issued in 1811; many of these acts gave special 
favors; this favoritism became so bad in 1856 that Gov. Wuiston 
vetoed various college and academy acts and demanded that all 
schools be placed ''on the same favorable footing" by general law 
and that no special favors be granted. But the system was then in 
the ascendant, and the special acts of incorporation became law over 
the governor's veto. This tendency may be shown by the statement 
that there was no general law exempting school property from taxa- 
tion till 1832. Before that it was taxed or not taxed according to 
caprice or pull. In the same way some institutions were expressly 
allowed to raise money by lottery, while others were not. The char- 
ters were, as a rule, drawn m the most general terms. This indefi- 
niteness may have been due to lack of experience in educational 
legislation, but it was more probably intended to give the widest scope 
for educational endeavor. The acts, most of them based on the same 
stereotyped model, recited the names of persons who were to serve 
as trustees, the name of the new institution, in very general terms 
the purpose for which it was organized, the powers of the trustees 
and officers, the character and kind of education that might be given, 
the power to confer distinctions, diplomas, favors, or degrees, and 
the amount of capital that might be held, which was generally fixed; 
exemption from taxation was often specifically granted ^ and was 
generally coupled during the later years with a provision against the 
selluig of Uquors within a certain distance and in earher years with 
the provision to raise money by lottery. 

No report to a State authority was at any time required; no super- 
vision or inspection under public conduct was to be exercised. The 

1 Act of January, 1832, exempted from taxation all houses and lots held by incorporated academies as 
long as used for educational purposes. 


State was content to give the schools official life and then let each 
work out its own salvation. It was a policy in which there was a 
literal survival of the fittest. 

Some of the leading institutions chartered in Alabama before the 
Civil War, and their distinctive features, are as follows: 


Pickett says (p. 469) that John Pierce established the first Ameri- 
can school in Alabama in 1779 at the Boat Yard on Lake Tensas. 
''There the high-blood descendants of Lachlan McGillivray, the Taits, 
Weatherfords, and Durants, the aristocratic Lindners, the wealthy 
Mimses, and the children of many others first learned to read." 

With the organization of the Territory of Alabama, the cause of 
education came to the front. At the meeting >f the first Territorial 
legislature in January, 1818, Gov. Bibb recommended the encourage- 
ment of education and the establishment of roads, bridges, and fer- 
ries, and the assembly responded to the governor's recommendations. 

At the next session the Territory took a unique way of giving what 
was practically an endowment to two of the academies then at work. 
The law permitted the banks at St. Stephens and Hunts ville to in- 
crease their capital stock b}^ selling shares at auction. The profits 
to the extent of 10 per cent were to go to the stockholders; any profits 
above 10 per cent were to be applied to the support of Green Academy 
in Madison County and St. Stephen's Academy. We have no report 
as to how much was received for education under this law.^ 

With the organization of the State the chartering of educational 
institutions begins in earnest. It may be assumed that these char- 
ters in most cases represent work projected, but not aU were in this 
class, for the acts of incorporation sometimes state that the institu- 
tion was already in working order. The following Hst does not give 
all that were established; only those institutions are here mentioned 
which seem to illustrate some principle. 


The first legislation on education in what is now the State of Ala- 
bama was by the Mississippi Territory in 1811, when it chartered an 
academy in Washington County. It was called Washington Acad- 
emy, and the exact location was to be fixed. It was made free from 
taxation, and given authority to raise $5,000 by lottery. In 1814 
this act was so amended that the proposed academy might be located 
in either Washington or Clarke County, which amendment would 
seem to indicate that the academy had not yet gone beyond the paper 

1 Pickett's Alabama, Owen's ed., 634. 
75075°— 15 2 



Green Academy, in Madison County; the trustees were empowered 
to locate the academy and to contract for buildings ; they were to be 
free from taxation and might raise $4,000 by lottery. By act of 
December 13, 1816, Green Academy was given $500 from the Terri- 
torial treasury. 


St. Stephens Academy incorporated. By act of December 13, 
1816, an academy of this name had been given $500 from the Terri- 
torial treasury. This was presumably the academy in Washington 
County, first chartered in 1811. 


Solemn Grove Academy, Monroe County. Estate of corporation 
limited to an annual income of $10,000. 


Sparta Academy. Lottery for $2,000 for buildings. 
Montgomery Academy. Lottery for $5,000 for buildings. 


Athens Female Academy, Limestone County. 

Jefferson Academy, Elyton; might hold $10,000 in real estate and 
raise $5,000 by lottery. 


Huntsville Library Company. James G. Birney was one of the 

Claiborne Academy, Monroe County. Amended in 1824 so the 
trustees could purchase a site and locate the seminary. 


Coosawda Academy, Autauga County. Allowed to hold $10,000 
worth of property. 

Concord Academy, Greene County. Its annual income was not 
to exceed $10,000. 

Moulton Library Company. Incorporated and allowed to hold 
property up to an annual value of $10,000. 

Milton Academy, Montgomery. To raise $3,000 for buildings by 
lottery and to hold property of not over $3,000 per year. 

Four other academies incorporated. 



Act for school on the Lancastrian plan at Huntsville; lottery for 
$2,500 to be devoted to buildings. 

Greenville Academy, Butler County; was allowed to hold $10,000 
in property and to raise $5,000 by lottery. 

Tuscaloosa Library Company, a joint stock company, but banking 
powers especially forbidden; lottery to raise $1,000 ; limit of property, 


Henry County Academy and Court House, to be built out of a 
$5,000 lottery. 

Phylomathian Society, at Sommerville, incorporated and given 
power to raise $500 by lottery to purchase a library. 

Franklin Female Academy, Russellville, Franklin County. Build- 
ing already erected; exempted from taxation; apparently first insti- 
tution thus specifically exempted; male and female departments 
separate, but under same management. 


Agricultural Society, Greensborough; property limited to $5,000. 

Wilcox Society, Wilcox County, '^for encouragement of litera- 
ture;" might hold $10,000 tax free. 

Athens Male Academy, Limestone County. Teachers and students 
exempted from miUtary service during school sessions. 


La Grange College. Act provides 50 trustees; Hmit of property, 
$300,000; might establish a preparatory or primary school and confer 
degrees, a purely literary, scientific, and undenominational institu- 
tion, as the trustees are '^ prohibited from the adoption of any system 
of education which shall provide for the inculcation of the pecuUar 
tenets or doctrines of any religious denomination whatever." Appar- 
ently the first institution after the university empowered to confer 


Tuscaloosa Female Academy was exempt from taxation and was to 
raise $50,000 by lottery. 

Jefferson Academy, Ely ton, Jefferson County, was chartered with 
a property valuation limit of $10,000. It was composed of two 
schools, a male and a female, each distinct and separate from the 
other. (See also 1822.) 

Seven other academies chartered this year. 



Summerville Female Seminary, Morgan County. Stock company 
with private stocldiolders and a capital of $20,000. 

Academy near Statesville, Autauga County. Lottery for $5,000 
authorized for building. This academy seems to have been incorpo- 
rated for the purpose of getting the lottery. 


Alabama Institute of Literature and Industry; property limit, 
$200,000. This is like all other acts of incorporation, only bigger. 

The Manual Labor Institute of South Alabama, Perry County, was 
incorporated December 16, 1833, and made big promises which were 
never mentioned again, even in the text of the law. It might confer 
degrees '4n the arts and sciences," and the trustees might govern 
the students '^by rewarding or censuring them," but there is no 
further mention of manual labor beyond the title, and in other 
respects the institution was like others. The title was changed to 
Madison College in 1839. 


Alabama Female Institute takes over property of Tuscaloosa 
Female Academy. 

. 1835-36. 

Wesley an Female Academy, Tuscaloosa, was already in existence 
when official incorporation took place. So with other institutions 
incorporated this year. 

Spring Hill College, Mobile County. This institution was to confer 
degrees and to have a president, a professor of divinity and of mental 
and moral philosophy, another of chemistry and natural philosophy, 
one of mathematics, and one of ancient and of modern languages. 
It was permitted to confer degrees. 


Franklin Academy, Suggsville, Clarke County, might hold not over 
80 acres of land, free of taxation. 

The charter of Mobile College indicates an effort looking toward 
general supervision by some central authority (as the University of 
the State of New York). The charter was issued and the right to 
grant degrees was allowed, but the institution must first — 

sufficiently satisfy the president of the University and the president and board of 
trustees of the University of Alabama that such a collegiate course is pursued in the 
college of Mobile, in the arts and sciences, as will justify the conferring of such degrees. 

Sixteen academies were chartered this year. 



The capital or capital stock of the academies was gradually increas- 
ing in amount, and exemption from taxation was now the rule rather 
than the exception. 

Clayton Male and Female Academy, Barbour County, might ^'con- 
fer such honors on graduation as to them may seem expedient." 

Evergreen Male and Female Academy, Conecuh County, no spirits 
to be sold within 1 mile. This provision from this time became the 

Twenty-three institutions of the grade of academy chartered; 2 in 
Russell, 2 in Barbour, 2 in Macon, 2 in Benton (now Calhoun). 


Centenary Institute of the Alabama Conference of the Methodist 
Episcopal Church, Dallas County. Allowed a capital of $60,000 
^'over and above its library and apparatus;" authorized in 1844-45 
'Ho confer degrees and grant diplomas." 

1841 (special session.) 

Howard College, Madison, Perry County; $200,000; allowed to 
grant '^ degrees in the arts and sciences;" evolved from an institu- 
tion organized out of a manual labor school idea. 


Nine acts passed relating to the academies of the State; none out of 
the ordinary nor of special significance. 


Centenary Institute was authorized to '^ confer degrees and grant 

Dayton Literary Association, under the name of the Dayton Female 
Seminary, was authorized to confer degrees. 

The Alabama Medical University, located at Wetumpka and by 
amendment anywhere in the State, was authorized to confer M. D. 
after 'Hwo full courses of lectures." 

Twelve acts passed relating to academies. 


This year nine acts were passed incorporating academies and 
giving some of them authority to confer degrees. The administra- 
tion of the sixteenth section was a matter of increasing significance, 
as seen from the laws. 



Nineteen academies chartered; others had their charters amended. 
Some of the acts of incorporation are now very detailed and exact in 
their wording and yet add Httle to the subject. This year a general 
act against selling or giving away Uquor to students of the university 
or to pupils of any academy or school was passed. 


From this time the sympathies of the legislature begin to broaden. 
It is the age of public improvement, of corporations and railroads, 
and legislators now have less time for consideration of the wants of 
local institutions. 

La Grange College, charter and plans enlarged. 

Medical College of the State of Alabama was chartered and located 
at Montgomery. 


The day of the college was now dawning in Alabama. The uni- 
versity, either expressed or impUed, was also drawing nigh. 

The Central Masonic Institute of the State of Alabama emerged 
from its old chrysalis as the Masonic University of the State of 
Alabama — the second to have the name of university and one of three 
to acquire at this session the name if not the substance of a university. 

The North Alabama CoUege, located at Huntsville, under the 
Synod of West Tennessee, was chartered, with $100,000 capital. It 
was to have a professorship of agriculture, one of civil engineering, 
and one of the ^^ mechanic or fine arts/' as well as departments of law, 
medicine, and theology — a university in the making. 

McGehee CoUege, under the auspices of the Methodist Protestant 
Church of Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina, Georgia, and 
other States, already had $30,000 subscribed and with a capital of 
$100,000 was to start as a full-fledged university with power to 
^^ confer all the degrees of Hterary and scientific distinction." 

Besides the above, there were chartered 4 other degree-conferring 
colleges and 18 institutes, seminaries, and academies. 


The Southern Military Academy, Chambers County, was allowed 
to raise by lottery, although this custom had fallen into abeyance 20 
years before, the sum of $25,000, 'Ho increase the staff of instruc- 
tion'' in the academy; to "enlarge the apparatus; reduce the tuition 
and to aid generally." 

Thirteen academies were incorporated. 



There was this year evidence of friction between the governor and 
the legislature, for we find seven acts incorporating institutions 
vetoed and then passed over the gubernatorial veto. This Ust of 
vetoed acts included: The Medical CoUege at Mobile; Florence 
Synodical Female College; Chunenugge Female College, Macon; 
Southern University, at Greensborough; Florence Wesleyan Uni- 
versity and the East Alabama Male College, at Auburn. 

In 1857-58, 19 institutions were chartered; in 1859-60 the number 
was agam 19, but there was apparent a change in legislative per- 
spective and feeling. The State was awakening to the significance 
of the new industrial era. Many acts related to the chartering of 
railroad, turnpike, and navigation companies; many others to bank 
and insurance companies, and the rampant war spirit was every- 
where perceptible through the incorporation of military organiza- 
tions and the permission to schools to add military instruction to 
their courses. The State, for its part, furnished arms and equipment. 


Although the usual custom in Alabama diu-ing the ante bellum 
period was to allow each institution to work out its own educational, 
salvation, exceptions to the rule were numerous and important. 
The lottery provision in so many of the early charters may be con- 
sidered a sort of subsidy from the public, and we have seen how, as 
early as 1816, Green Academy and St. Stephens Academy each 
received a gift of $500 from the Territorial Legislature of Misissippi, 
apparently without any equivalent or any limitation on the way it 
might be expended. The second Territorial Legislature of Alabama, 
that which met in the fall of 1818, after allowing the two banks in 
the Territory to increase their capital stock, required all profits over 
10 per cent to go to the two academies mentioned above. 

There were also early in the nineteenth century mission schools 
established among the Choctaws and Chickasaws of Mississippi 
that had indirectly an influence on the whites in Alabama and 
received Government assistance. These schools were under the 
direction of the missionaries of the American Board of Commis- 
sioners for Foreign Missions and were established in 1812 and 1819. 
They were industrial schools in the modern sense. The boys were 
taught to plow and to hoe ; the girls to spin and weave, sew and knit, 
make butter and cheese, and keep house. So successful were they 
that in 1824 the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign 
Missions was reported as having 10 schools with 39 teachers (em- 
ployees) and 208 pupils among the Choctaws. These schools cost 


$26,109, of which the Federal Government paid $2,350 tuition. 
Among the Chickasaws there were reported two schools with 26 
teachers and 75 pupils. They cost $3,283, of which $900 was paid 
by the United States. It was reported that these Indians, unlike 
those of the present day in the farther West, were anxious to have 
more schools and that in 1825 the Choctaws had been appropriating 
out of their funds held by the Federal Government $12,000 per year 
for nearly 20 years for education and that the Chickasaws had given 
at least $30,000 for the same end.^ 

By an act of 1823 Green Academy, after paying $400 for a slave 
killed while working the public roads, was allowed for five years the 
fines and forfeitures collected in Madison County. 

An act passed in 1824 provided that the county court of Baldwin 
should erect ferries over Tensas Eiver, Mobile River, and Mobile 
Bay and let them to the highest bidder. The rents from these 
ferries were to be a ''perpetual fund for the support of an academy 
and an hospital in the County of Baldwin." 

In 1825-26 schoolmasters, teachers, and students were exempted 
from military duty by act of the assembly. 

In 1826-27 a memorial to Congress in behalf of the Lafayette 
(Female) Academy at La Grange recites that a "handsome building," 
but of small dimensions, had been erected "for both sexes," that it 
had been in operation for 12 months with 80 or 90 students. The 
memorial then asks for a quarter section of land, "which quarter 
section is extremely sterile and is of no value" except as a site, and 
for other quarter sections up to 15. 

The Valley Creek Academy, Dallas County, incorporated in 1828- 
29, Was to have the sixteenth section lands. They were to be sold 
and the income devoted to the use of the academy. This act was 
repealed just a year later. 

In 1830 a joint memorial of the legislature to Congress recites that 
"common schools are not places at which females can receive more 
than the first rudiments of education," and for that reason asks 
two sections of land in each county for female academies. 

By act of 1832-33 the Blountville Academy was to have "a fair 
proportion of the net annual proceeds" of the sixteenth section 
fund. In the same way the trustees of Pendleton Academy at 
Coffeeville, Clarke County, were to control and administer their 
sixteenth section. 

An act of 1835-36 authorizes the trustees of literary institutions 
to deposit their funds in the State bank of Alabama for not less than 
five years, guarantees the principal, and promises 6 per cent. This 
was the beginning of trouble for such institutions. 

1 See Publications Miss. Hist. Society, vol. 8, p. 589 et seq. 


Clayton Male and Female Academy, in Barbour County, chartered 
in 1839-40 with a $20,000 exemption from taxation and with authority 
to ' ^confer such honors on graduates as to them may seem expedient," 
was to have the sixteenth section lands of its township. 

In 1843-44 the military academy at Eufaula, a private institu- 
tion, was furnished by the State with arms, and this custom became 
progressively more and more common. 

In 1845-46 we find an act which directs the township commission- 
ers to distribute funds pro rata, whether the children attend in that 
district or elsewhere, and to pay for those who go outside the district 
to school. 

But as time moved on toward the turning point of half a century 
it became more and more evident that the center of interest was 
gradually changing from the old private academy to the new public 
school. It was fate that the former should decrease, while the latter 
should increase. 

Chapter III. 



The citizen of Alabama had had the sixteenth section lands as a 
basis for pubhc school support presented for his consideration from 
the earliest times. It was recognized in the ordinance under which 
the Mississippi Territory was organized; it was in the enabUng act 
of March 2, 1819, which organized the Alabama Territory, and in 
the State constitution of 1819. '' Schools and the means of educa- 
tion shall forever be encouraged/^ that instrument said, and it 
further directed that measures be taken to preserve from waste 
''such lands as are or hereafter may be granted by the United States 
for the use of schools within each township. '^ It follows that when 
the Alabamian came to administer the sixteenth section lands for 
the benefit of his local schools he was on ground already familiar, 
at least in theory. 

The earHest acts dealing with the sixteenth sections sought to 
make them a source of income for the schools, and it seems proper 
1o review briefly the acts passed during the generation preceding 
the adoption of the State-wide public school law on February 15, 
1854. In this way clearer comprehension can be had of what was 
attempted, although the laws themselves are disjointed, discon- 
nected, and without logical relations. 

Passing over, as immaterial, all the acts dealing with the seminary 
lands, since these belonged to the university, the legislature of the 
newly created State, on December 17, 1819, among its very first acts, 
passed one providing for leasing the school lands ''for the purpose of 
improving the same." In 1820 the limit of leases was extended, 
and there begins a series of special acts modifying the original law in 
favor of particular claimants that in time worked havoc with the 
school lands. On January 1, 1823, a more elaborate act regarding 
the leasing of lands and the organization of schools was passed. 
Under the new law the county court was to appoint three school 
commissioners who were to survey the school lands, plat and lease 
them at auction for 10 years. Improvements might in part take 
the place of the annual rental. Another act of the same year allowed 
the people interested to fix within certain limits the length of their 


In 1825 is to be found the first incorporation of a school township, 
the purpose evidently being to give its trustees greater Hberty of 
action. In this case they were authorized to lease their lands for 
99 years to the highest bidder, the upset price being $17 per acre, 
reduced in 1827 to $12. The proceeds were to be invested in 
United States Bank or State bank stock, the interest only being 
used for the support of schools. Other acts of incorporation pro- 
vided for sale or lease, under varying conditions of price and time. 

The fortunes of the Alabama public school lands are inseparably 
bound up with those of the State bank. Under the original charter 
of the bank of the State of Alabama (1823) funds arising from the 
sale of university lands were invested as a part of its capital stock. 
By act of January 15, 1828, it was provided that the school com- 
missioners should submit to the voters of the township the question 
of the sale of their school lands. The notes received in payment bore 
6 per cent interest and were to be deposited in the State bank. The 
principal as collected might be invested in bank stock paying 6 
per cent interest and guaranteed by the State. 

In the thirties there was developed a tendency, encouraged by 
special acts, to withdraw this principal from the central bank and 
redeposit it in the branch bank, in order that local borrowers from 
the townships where these funds originated might be favored. This 
legislation in favor of local borrowers hampered the bank administra- 
tion and was doubtless an additional cause of loss to the fund.^ 

An act of November, 1837, provides for either lease or sale. The 
proceeds, deposited in the State bank or its branches, were to be 
regarded as the ' 'capital stock of the said township," and were not to 
be diminished, the interest alone being used for schools. 

It would appear that the terms authorized by this act were pop- 
ular, for much land was sold. But trouble soon began, for at the 
very next session private acts were passed extending for certain 
individuals the time of payment. In 1839-40 the bank was given 
authority to extend aU notes for four years, and in 1843-44 by joint 
resolution they were again extended for a year. In 1842-43 a general 
act had provided for the cancellation of sixteenth section sales when 
it was thought that ^'by reason of the insolvency of the purchasers 
* * * or from other cause," the sale could not ^'be made produc- 
tive." As a result the legislature was swamped in 1843-44 and 
1844-45 with private acts providing for cancellation of sales. These 
requests came principally from RusseU, Talladega, Tallapoosa, 
Wilcox, Washington, Barbour, Dallas, Sumter, Greene, Marengo, 
Cherokee, Lawrence, and Chambers Counties, a majority being in 

1 The chapter on the history of banking in Alabama, printed in Knox's History of Banking in the United 
States, and Avritten it is believed by James H. Fitts, of Tuscaloosa, states that under the act of 1828 some- 
thing like $1,300,000 of sixteenth section funds were invested in the State bank, but it is believed that 
this is an overestimate, as will be seen later. 


the black belt which represented the highest degree of industrial 
development the State had then attained. 

In the meantime the State had entered on a new era of prosperity, 
everybody was speculating and borrowing, and the State bank was 
making so much money that on January 9, 1836, direct State taxa- 
tion was abohshed and on the State bank was placed the burden 
of ^^ defraying all the necessary expenses of the government" of the 
State up to $100,000. The school fund came in for its share of 
this prosperity, and the law of January 31, 1839, ordered the bank 
to pay to the schools $150,000 annually; the law of February 3, 1840, 
increased this to $200,000. These laws concern mainly the admin- 
istration and use of the sums earned by the sixteenth section funds, 
and are therefore considered in detail in chapter 5. But it is proper 
to add here that while the share of the Surplus Revenue of 1836 
coming to Alabama and amounting to $669,086.78 had been made a 
part of the school fund and deposited in the State bank as a part of 
its capital stock, the sum of $200,000 demanded under the law of 
February 3, 1840, as interest by the State for all of its school funds, 
was much more than a fair rate of interest on both the sixteenth 
section and Surplus Revenue funds would allow, and the difference 
between the actual interest and the sum required must be regarded 
as a privilege tax placed on the bank and its branches for the right 
to do business. It was entirely in accord with the spirit of the times 
which looked to the State bank for the expenses of government. From 
1836 to 1842 ^ State taxation was abohshed, and the necessary funds 
for the conduct of public business came out of the profits of the 
State bank and its branches. The bank's success as a financial 
institution made possible the acts of 1839 and 1840. But this pros- 
perity did not last. It was found necessary by February 13, 1843, 
to repeal the act of January 9, 1836, and revive taxation for State 
purposes; and, since the bank could no longer meet its obligations 
either to the State or to the school fund, the $200,000 contribution 
required by the law of February 3, 1840, was also repealed (act of 
Jan. 21, 1843). It would appear that practically the whole income 
of the public school fund was cut off by this failure of the bank. 
What that income was during the next £.ye years is uncertain, but 
it is certain that it was unimportant. We shaU see how the State 
later provided funds by recognizing the now worthless State bank 
certificates as a valid claim a,gainst itself, thus creating a paper fund. 

1 Du Bose, Alabama History, p. 116; Knox's Banking says 10 years, 1826-1836. "We are satisfied that 
the profits arising from this fund [the 2 per cent and 3 per cent funds] must have been considerable, for the 
pregnant reason that the legislature by act of 9th January, 1836, abolished direct taxation for the sup- 
port of the State Government, and the second section of said act imposes the heavy burthen upon the 
bants of 'defraying all the necessary expenses of the government of this State.' It is evident that the 
banks must have been in a sound and prosperous condition, or this unwise legislation of abolishing all 
taxes would not have been adopted and carried out for eight years before the taxes were reassessed." — Report 
of Joint Select Committee on the Two and Three Per Cent Funds, p. 7, Montgomery, 1860. See the act of 
Jan. 9, 1836, in Session Laws, 1835-36, p. 43. County taxes continued. 


During the decade of the forties the State took steps to secure 
the equivalent of sixteenth section lands for those counties which 
lay within the Chickasaw cession in Alabama. It was mindful also 
that all sixteenth sections were not of equal value, and as early as 
1828 it sent a memorial to Congress on this subject. In 1848 the 
legislature asked Congress to grant for educational purposes aU 
the unsold lands in the State; another joint resolution of the same 
session, after declaring that the sixteenth sections had '^utterly 
failed to accomphsh the noble object" for which they were intended, 
asks that the lands granted by act of September 4, 1841, be appHed 
to the valueless sixteenth sections. 

The legislature failed to receive for educational purposes aU of 
the unsold lands for which they asked, but their memorials even- 
tuated in various Federal acts under which the State was allowed 
to locate lands, some of them in other States and in the Territories 
(i. e., Louisiana, Arkansas, Nebraska), in place of the Chickasaw 
cession lands that had been sold, and to apply ^^for the use of schools" 
in those townships where the sixteenth sections "are comparatively 
valueless" the 100,000 acres which had been granted by act of 
September 4, 1841, for internal improvements.^ 

In the meantime the State bank had run its briUiant, but unfor- 
tunate course. After meeting the expenses of the State government 
for some six years out of its profits, it failed, with a debt of $14,000,000 
in outstanding bills in circulation, which cost the State in interest 
$16,840,000 before final liquidation. By act of February 4, 1846, 
the bank was placed in the hands of Francis S. Lyon and others as 
commissioners and trustees for final adjustment. This law gave 
the schools and the university a prior claim b}^ providing that the 
commissioners "retain in their hands a sufficient amount of the 
assets * * * to pay off the amounts that may be due the several 
townships * * * ^j^d the interest on the university fund." 

But this was not a final settlement. The matter was up again 
in the session of 1847-48. A senate committee was instructed to 
consider "what further legislation is necessary" for the safety and 
security of the fund, "the amount and condition of that portion 
of the proceeds of the sold sixteenth sections which has not yet 
been collected, and what reasons are proper for its collection and 
safe management." 

The committee report is dated February 1, 1848. The committee 
had examined such of the records as were available and found that 
on December 1, 1847, $953,835.38 had been collected from school 
lands sold, and that the interest then due on these sums was $73,- 
030.19. They asked the bank further, "What disposition has been 

1 See United States Statutes for Sept. 14, 1841; Feb. 26, 1845, and Mar. 3, 1847; and Alabama laws of 
Jan. 27, 1846; Mar. 4, 1848; Jan. 5 and Feb. 13, 1850, together with memorials and laws for sessions of 1848-49. 


made of the money paid into the bank, and what is its condition 
now? '' The branch bank at Decatur had '^ loaned it out indiscrimi- 
nately with other funds, and the amount now forms a part of the 
good, bad, and doubtful debts due the Btate." This was substan- 
tially the case at the Tuscaloosa branch bank. The branch at 
Montgomery stated that the amount paid in ^'stands to the credit 
of the several townships and is a charge against the general assets 
of the bank." This seems to have been the case also at Mobile. 
The branch bank at Hunts ville reported that the sums paid in 
stood 'Ho the credit of the different sixteenth sections, called prin- 
cipal or capital, no part of which has been drawn out of bank, and 
upon which the bank pays interest quarterly." 

Thus it appears that only at Huntsville Was the sixteenth section 
fund likely to recover anything from the bank; here alone did it 
represent actual cash. 

The committee found further that the banks held school land 
notes to the extent of $453,346.73, of which $208,290.84 was in suit. 
The committee could not discover how much money had been col- 
lected by attorneys, marshals, and other officers and agents of the 
bank, by sheriffs, coroners, or clerks, and never as yet paid to the 
banks. They estimated that not less than $15,000 had been col- 
lected and retained in the hands of school commissioners. 

The policy of the State was now to wind up the banks and dis- 
pense with their services as agents. Two parties then appeared in 
the committee. The minority thought the State should withdraw 
as much as possible from the administration of the funds by turning 
over 'Ho the management of suitable persons in each county * * * 
the uncollected sixteenth section notes and enough of the notes and 
available assets of the banks and branches to equal the amounts 
which have been collected.^ 

The majority of the committee took just the opposite view. In 
the meantime Hon. Benjamin F. Porter introduced into the house 
of representatives a bill — 

for the preservation of the sixteenth section grants, and to establish, permanently, 
in the State of Alabama, a common school fund so as to fully secure the intellectual 
improvement and moral welfare of the youth of the State. ^ 

Judge Porter's bill failed to become a law, although vigorously 
pressed. He made an elaborate speech in its favor, which is quoted 
here because it opposes the arguments of the decentralizing party, 
whose views had already almost caused the dissipation of the school 
funds of the State, and outlines other plans which were later sub- 

1 See report of the committee on sixteenth sections, Montgomery, 1848, p. 7. 

2 Copy in Curry Collection in Alabama State Department of Archives and History, Montgomery, n. t. p., 
n. p., n. d., O., pp. 15. Placed by Owen in his Bibliography as of 1847-48. 



stantially enacted into law. He showed by citations from Alabama 
court decisions that Congress granted the sixteenth sections — 

to the people of the State, with whom it was then in contract, for the people of the 
townships, that for them a fund might be raised to exist in incessant continuance for 
school purposes. 

He proved also from the law writers that the legislature could not 
give up its trust: 

The act by which the State for the present throws off her obligation to apply and 
secure this fund herself will prove the occasion of an awful responsibility in coming 

The law authorities all prove, he continued — 

that whether we take the object of the trust or grant, or its letter, the legislature has 
very extensive authority over the fund in applying it to effecting the purpose. 

The opposition said that Judge Porter's bill limited ^Hhe perpetu- 
ation of schools in each township." 
He answered: 

Not so; the bill secures these forever, and equalizes the fund by adjusting the 
surplus income and throwing it upon the township having no income. To this arrange- 
ment the whole people of the State are parties. 

The speaker then branches off into an instructive review of the 
educational situation in Alabama: 

Under the existing system * * * the surplus incomes of these wealthy town- 
ships are usually expended in magnificent palaces, which but shame the cause of 
education. * * * Under this partial system there must be much extravagance, 
much inequality. Instances could be given. * * * In one, no less than $1,600 
is paid for two teachers annually; in another, $3,000. 

He then cites particular counties, with their sixteenth section 
income, the number of childi*en (under 20), schools and pupils 
enrolled : 

School statistics. 






















He stated further that, out of a white population of 335,185, there 
were 22,592, or nearly 7 per cent, above 20 years of age who could 
neither read nor write. 

He then reviewed with some detail the proposals of his own bill, 
some of which will be met again in a more successful one. 


He proposed the appointment of commissioners to choose an agent 
who was to be practically a State superintendent. The education 
provided for the boys was to be — 

essentially beneficial. It looks to the ordinary duties of manhood, socially and indi- 
vidually; the mechanic arts, agriculture, architecture, engineering * * * I in- 
tend no partial, fanciful system; but a gradual, well-developed method of instruction, 
both for body and soul. 

The girls were to be trained on '^a more general and efficient plan 
of education.' ' The bill proposed further the redemption of the six- 
teenth section fund by means of taxation. Says Judge Porter: 

You have banked on this fund and have liquidated your banks. It is therefore your 
duty to redeem it. The plan gives the State the use of the principal and binds her to 
the prompt and perpetual payment of the income, and its application to the gradual 
establishment of schools in every township in the State. The income will be about 
$100,000 yearly. Schools are secured in every rich township, and the surplus is ap- 
plied to the support of schools in the poorer sections. In consideration of this equali- 
zation, 10 per cent of every revenue collected is carried to the fund. When it is con- 
sidered that the fund is now lost; that it must be redeemed by taxation, upon the poor 
as well as the rich; upon those who have large incomes, as well as those having none 
from their sixteenth sections; no plan can be more equitable or just. 

But Judge Porter's bill failed to pass and the views of the majority 
of the senate committee were finally embodied in the law of March 6, 
1848, for the adjustment of the affairs of the State bank and its 
branches required the rewriting of the State law dealing with the six- 
teenth sections. The new law (March 6, 1848) provided that all 
funds from sixteenth section lands be vested in the State ^'as trustee 
for the several townships" (who were the owners) and be paid into the 
State treasury. The pubhc comptroller was to report on the funds 
that were due each township. The governor was to issue to the town- 
ships a certificate of the amounts due each, with additional certifi- 
cates when other amounts were received. The county tax collector 
was required to deposit with the county treasurer an annual sum 
equal to the interest at 6 per cent on the certificate then held, 
on which the school commissioners were to draw. Funds derived 
from land sales were no longer to be invested in ^^ State stock or 

A law of 1851-52 secured for the funds also such sums as had been 
collected by bank officials from purchases of sixteenth section 
lands, but not turned in. For these sums, as for the other moneys 
derived from land sales, the comptroller was required to issue certifi- 
cates of State stock to the proper township. 

It would appear from these laws : (1) That the school fund in theory 
lost nothing by the failure of the State bank, while in reality it lost 
everything; (2) that each county was forced to raise by general taxa- 
tion its share of the sums which it might receive back again under the 


fictitious name of interest if it happened to own sixteenth section 
lands; (3) that by this legerdemain the State shifted from itself to the 
taxpayers the burden of providing the annual interest on a paper fund, 
the principal of which it had invested and lost; and (4) that the same 
policy was kept up when funds were received from new land sales, the 
cash receipts being used and interest-bearing certificates taking their 
place. The superintendents and auditors inveighed against this plan, 
but without effect. It is the scheme in use to-day. 

The seemingly most important school question during these years 
was to find a way by which the income of these sixteenth section funds, 
belonging to the separate individual townships, might be so equalized 
as to serve the State as a whole rather than isolated communities. 
The law of January 31, 1839, did not attempt this equalization; the 
law of February 3, 1840, made such attempt and so did later laws. 
The law of February 10, 1852, even sought to convert the sixteenth 
section funds from local to general State funds. It provided for a 
general election to be held in August, 1853, to decide ^^ whether the 
sixteenth section fund belonging to the several townships in this State 
shall be consoHdated or not." But it was provided also that no sub- 
sequent legislature should be authorized by this act "to consolidate 
or put into a common fund the amount that may belong to any town- 
ship that shall vote against consolidation." 

In this connection the comptroller made a report to the assembly 
of 1853 in which he gave a detailed statement of the condition of 
the sixteenth section lands by counties and townships. A senate 
report (Montgomery, 1853, p. 36) in summarizing the "Eeport of 
the Comptroller of Public Accounts showing the sixteenth sections 
sold in the several counties in the State, and the amount for which 
each sold," pointed out that there were 1,572 townships, and, assum- 
ing that each had a full sixteenth section, there were 1,006,080 acres 
of school lands. Of these lands there had been sold up to that time 
by 873 townships 558,720 acres, for $1,575,598. Of this sum, 
$1,183,302 had been paid— 

to the State bank and brandies and to the treasurer of the State at different times, 
and the larger portion thereof has been funded, and certificates of stock have been 
delivered to the respective townships for their quota of the cash so paid in. 

There was then on hand in notes $392,296 belonging to the town- 

Six hundred and ninety-nine townships had not reported the sale 
of land ''and have neither a cash capital nor notes on hand," leaving 
447,460 acres of land which were supposed to be worth about one- 
third of the lands already sold. The committee was of the opinion, 
however, that some of these townships "have made sale of their 

75075°— 15 3 


lands and have neglected to make a return of the notes or the money 
for which the same was sold." 

This report to the senate was signed by J. P. Frazier, who makes 
another report to the senate on the vote in August, 1853, on the 
question of consolidating the sixteenth section funds. It was found 
that 852 had voted for consolidation, 264 against it, and 456 did 
not vote. Of the townships voting, it was found that 199 had 
$123,541 worth of school lands, or an average of $617.90. From 
this it was assumed that the 852 owned $526,280 worth. The com- 
mittee then continues: 

The act, under the provision of which these elections were held, provides that 
nothing therein contained shall authorize a consolidation of the funds of any township 
voting against it. It seems to the committee that a consolidation of the funds of 
the 852 townships voting for consolidation could effect but little good, even if such a 
measure was in itself right and proper, 

for the average interest due to the township would be only about 
$49. The committee then proceeded to argue that, under the act 
of Congress, consolidation could not be legally accomplished, and 
nothing was done.^ 

In January, 1850, the indebtedness of the State to the school fund 
was placed by a legislative committee at $995,220.97 and the interest 
given as $59,713.26, or 6 per cent.^ In 1851 the treasurer reported 
the ''interest on the common school fund'' as $103,640.43 (which 
included the interest on the surplus revenue of $669,086.78 at 8 per 
cent). In that year it was said "only six States of the Union have 
at this day a larger school fund than Alabama possesses." The 
principal of this sixteenth section school fund, as it was in the forties 
had been lost with the failure of the State bank, but since the cer- 
tificates representing the sums of school money thus invested in the 
bank stock were guaranteed by the State, they became a permanent 
charge on the whole State, the principal being a paper fund only. 

There was also the greatest difficulty in collecting solvent out- 
standing notes. Of those then belonging to the public school fund 
the comptroller said in 1851: 

The law gives no facilities for the collection of these notes, and the comptroller is 
unwilling to incur the responsibility of sending them to attorneys in every county 
In the State for collection. * * * in many cases the proceeds of sales of whole 
sections are absorbed in expenses, and in some they fall short of paying the expense. 
* * * It is respectfully suggested that the comptroller be authorized by law to 
bring suit on all sixteenth section notes. * * * This class of debtors has been 
greatly favored, and it would really seem that notes that have been running from 
10 to 15 years, as many of them have, should now be paid as they fall due. 

1 See the committee reports, Montgomery, 1853. 

2 In 1848 the income of the sixteenth section fund was estimated at $90,000. This evidently included 
also the Surplus Revenue fund. 


As has been shown abeady, the assembly had given many exten- 
sions on these notes or allowed the parties after they had exploited 
the lands to throw them up altogether. 

In 1854 the management of the school fund was transferred from 
the State comptroller to the new State superintendent. There were 
then still more than $100,000 in claims under control of the banks, and 
$300,000 in notes due the fund was in the hands of the superintendent. 
Repeated extensions of these notes was said to be still the rule, and 
many of them for one reason or another, or for no reason, were never 
collected.^ And, although there were more or less steady additions 
to this fund, coming from lands sold and notes paid, the actual cash 
was covered into the State treasury and went for miscellaneous ex- 
penses. If it was then the purpose of the State to create a permanent 
State educational school fund based on cash or its representatives, the 
neglect and mismanagement which that fund encountered is note- 
worthy. Says Supt. Duval, in his report for 1858: 

The ''Educational Fund" is apparently composed of sums credited to the various 
funds above enumerated ? In reality these fund s have no existence ; they are tangible 
neither to feeling nor to sight; they are legal fictions, having names and "local habi- 
tations" only on the books of the different State officers where such accounts are kept. 
Long since they disappeared from the treasury vaults and went glimmering into the 
dismal abyss of "State debt." Every dollar of the "Educational Fund," except the 
payments which are now being made upon the sales of school lands, is raised directly 
by taxation, and is by no means the result of prudent investment by sagacious 

It appears from the reports of the State bank officials and of the 
auditor that practically aU of the sixteenth-section fund accumulated 
prior to 1851, together with the whole of the Surplus Revenue of 1836, 
had been lost ; ^ that these sums, speaking generally, represent about 
one-half of the present total of the fund; that the sums collected since 
1851 on account of sixteenth-section lands and valueless sixteenth 
sections have been used for miscellaneous expenses; and that they 
have perhaps for the most part brought a fair return to the State. 

The poHcy of using the principal for miscellaneous needs, instead 
of building up with it a true school fund based on interest-bearing 
securities, did not go without criticism. The sharpest criticism and 
clearest reasoning to be found on the subject is in the report of 

1 As late as 1858 the superiatendent was demanding from the banks "all books, documents, or notes, or 
other evidence of debt relating to the sixteenth section fund," as provided in the act of February 6, 1858. 
The legislature had also placed on the superintendent the duty of organizing the school for the deaf and 
dumb. And while duties were increasing, the available help in his office was so limited that the tendency 
was for him to become a mere head clerk in his own office, and as his letter books show, attending to the 
petty details of land sales, payment of notes, and the giving of titles, instead of being able to study the ques- 
tion of education in its broader and wider relations to the State as a whole. 

2 The fund created by the law of February 15, 1854, and called the " Educational Fund," included the (1) 
sixteenth section fund, (2) the valueless sixteenth section famd, and (3) the United States Surplus Revenue 
fund of 1836. 

3 The Surplus Revenue of 1836 was a State, not a township, fund. 


R. M. Reynolds, auditor, for 1869. After quoting the law of March, 
1827, which provides for the sale of the school lands, he summarizes 
the sums received as follows : 

Received prior to December 1, 1860: 

Sixteenth-section fund 11,499,343.83 

Valueless sixteenth-section fund 97, 091. 21 

University fund 300, 000. 00 

Total 1, 896, 435. 04 

Received Dec. 1, 1860, to Dec. 1, 1867 310, 794. 12 

Received since Dec. 1, 1867 209.75 

be. 12, 207, 438. 91 

Auditor Reynolds then proceeds : 

The inquiry is very properly made, "VvTiat has the State, as trustee, done with this 
money? " Has it been invested in some productive fund? 

No vestige of it can be found in this office of any value whatever, whether in bonds, 
stocks, bills receivable, buildings, or other property; and the only answer which is 
found of late record is that " it is held in trust by the State for school purposes. " ^ ^ * 

To the proposition that it is ''held in trust by the State," I would say that this 
can not be the fact, as it is impossible for the State "to hold in trust" what does not 
exist. This fund is not in esse and can not be held in trust by any trustee. It is lost 
or misapplied, and this compels the further statement above referred to, that "it is 
assumed " or "held in perpetuity by the State." By what right does the State assume 
it in perpetuity; certainly not by statute, which provides that it shall be "invested in 
some productive fund . " 

If this assumption "in perpetuity" by the State has any significance, it must mean 
that the money has been lost or misapplied, and the State has been driven to the 
necessity of either accepting the amount as a debt or repudiating the trust reposed 
in her. She very properly admits the application of the fund, and says by statute, 
"I will assume it as a debt and pay interest upon it till the debt is discharged." 

Can this fund be, by right or sound policy, assumed in perpetuity? I answer by 
saying that the State should assume no such right, although she may have, by a tech- 
nicality of law, the privilege of so doing, for, in my judgment, so long as this state of 
affairs continues, she does virtually repudiate the trust reposed in her, by compelling 
the people of the State, who are, by law, the beneficiaries of this fund, to pay as a tax 
or debt that which they should receive as a bonus or gift for themselves and their 
children for school purposes forever. 

A little reflection will satisfy the most superficial thinker that this fund has been 
misapplied or lost by the bad management of the trustees. It has been so used that 
the very object for which it was donated to the people of the State and of the several 
townships has been entirely frustrated and defeated. What was intended as a bonus 
has become a burden. What was to have been an annual gift has become a debt — to 
be paid by direct taxation. 

If the theory that this trust fund should be "assumed in perpetuity" be correct, 
and that the "principal shall never be paid," as is claimed in grave State papers upon 
the subject, then, indeed, it becomes a source of profound thankfuhiess that the United 
States Government devoted so small a sum as $2,107,438.91 [sic] for educational pur- 
poses, as provision can be made by law for the payment of 8 per cent upon that amount 
by a direct annual tax of $168,595.11 upon the people of the State. If, instead of this 

1 Auditor's figures are $2,107,438.91. 


amount, the United States Government had given us the munificent sum of $50,000,000 
for educational purposes the people of the State, under the theory and practice of 
"assumption of this fund in perpetuity," would now be taxed for school purposes 
alone the full sum of $4,000,000 annually. The greater the beneficence of the General 
Government, the more dire the calamity to the people, and the more terrible their 

We should then present the anomaly, rarely if ever witnessed in history, of a people 
driven to the verge of bankruptcy by becoming the recipients of most princely 
donations, given by a beneficent government. It is, to me, a matter of astonishment 
that such theory should be deemed correct by any one conversant with the laws which 
govern the management of trust funds, and define their relation to cestui que trusts. 
I fully concur in the following statement of Mr. Joel Riggs, the comptroller of the State 
treasury in 1851 : ' ' Perhaps of all trust funds none has been so greatly mismanaged as 
the school fund of Alabama." 

Until the money due this fund is placed where it will not require a direct levy of 
tax for annual interest upon the people, who are the beneficiaries thereof, it can not 
be called in any just sense a "school fund," but it is as clearly a debt as any other 
portion of her obligations. * * ^ 

Believing that the State is solemnly bound to discharge the trust imposed in her, 
in relation to this fund, as before stated, I most earnestly recommend that, by action 
of the general assembly, such laws shall be passed as will, in their execution, restore 
this fund to the condition indicated by statute. 

In his report for 1870 the auditor illustrated the method of pro- 
cedure in re the sixteenth section lands : 

You will pardon me, however, for referring to one transaction in the matter of the 
sixteenth section fund which occurred during the last year, as it affords all the elements 
of a demonstration as to the bad policy of absorbing United States trust funds given 
for the benefit of schools. The lands situated in Nebraska belonging to townships 
5 and 6, range 1, 2, and 3, east, in Alabama, were by provision of law sold for the 
benefit of the children of those townships. The United States provides that the 
money accruing from the sale of such land should be "invested in some productive 
fund, the proceeds of which shall be forever applied for the use and support of schools 
within the several townships, * * * for which they were originally reserved and 
set apart, and for no other purpose whatsoever." See act approved March 2, 1827. 
These lands were sold for nearly $20,000 and the proceeds of the sale under the pro- 
visions of laws as now in force were placed in the treasury by certificate from this 
office, when the State became liable for the money, and interest thereon, and unless 
the policy is changed by repeal of the laws now in force the people of the State will be 
taxed to the amount of nearly $1,600 annual interest. 

By this one act the debt of the State was increased nearly $20,000. Had this amount 
been invested in United States securities or outstanding State bonds the people would 
not have been compelled to pay larger tax on account of interest upon the educational 
fund. The taxpayers of the State, outside of those townships, had no interest in the 
proceeds of the sale of said lands, and it would have been fortunate for all the tax- 
payers if the money had never been placed in the State treasury.^ 

Mr. Reynolds recommended retrenchment in educational matters 
in his reports for 1870, 1871', and 1872, as follows: 

(1) Rehef from payment of interest on trust funds hereafter col- 
lected by requinng them to be funded in United States or other bonds. 

(2) Rehef from perpetual payment of interest on the trust funds 
and bonded debt of the State by the creation of a sinking fund. 

1 Report 1870, pp. 4-5. 


The reasoning of the auditor was perhaps sound, but he failed to 
recognize that the funds lost in the failure of the State bank had been 
previously taken over by the State and administered as a part of the 
capital of the State bank under a State guarantee. The State had 
borrowed these sums from the township and gone into a business 
which failed. All sense of justice would demand that the State make 
good the loss, even at the expense of the poorer townships. As to 
the sums received from year to year, if they were spent in good faith, 
they did not go into the pockets of individuals ; they were not frittered 
away, but secured for the State a proper return and so became a just 
debt. For the time, at least, they reduced taxation, and if spent 
in State undertakings of a permanent character, like roads, buildings, 
or schools, presumably produced an income, tangible or intangible, 
which justified their use. And, finally, since the main source of 
income of a State is taxation on the property of its citizens, a sinking 
fund could be created only by increasing taxes or by devoting to this 
purpose other funds the direction of whose earning power must be 

The assembly saw the difficulty which Mr. Reynolds did not appre- 
ciate, and chose as the less of two evils to continue for 12 years longer 
the method then in vogue. By act of March 1, 1881,^ the assembly 
provided that the State treasurer should invest all money received 
by him on account of compromising and settling old claims, '^ together 
with all other money hereafter paid in on account of the sixteenth 
section lands in the 6 per cent or other bonds of this State." In 
this way the beginnings of a real school fund were laid. This fund 
appears from time to time for the next 10 years in the reports of the 
auditor and treasurer. In 1883-84 there was $34,100 ready for 
investment, and in 1885 it was reported that 79 State bonds of $500 
each, bearing interest at 6 per cent, had been bought by the school 
authorities on account of this fund. The arrangement did not give 
satisfaction, however, and under a law passed February 28, 1889, 
these bonds were sold, the money received was covered into the treas- 
ury, the idea of building up a perpetual fund abandoned, and a return 
was made to the earher custom of issuing certificates to the townships 
to which the funds belonged and counting the money received as a 
part of the general resources of the State. Alabama has not befieved 
in building up a school fund for posterity. It has reasoned that as 
a matter of natural development the citizens of 1870 would be less 
prepared to educate their children than would those of 1910; there- 
fore the greater progress would be made by using all funds as they 
became available. ^ 

1 Laws of 1881, p. 25. 


So unsatisfactory did the general land situation become by 1899 ^ 
that an act was passed authorizing the governor to employ an — 

agent for the purpose of examining into the sale and disposition heretofore made of 
school or other lands belonging to the State, with a view of recovering to the State 
lands which have illegally passed out of the possession and of settling or straightening 
out titles now in dispute. 

By act of April, 1911, section 895 of the Code was amended so as 
to extend and broaden the powers of this State land agent. Besides 
the investigations already undertaken, he was authorized to grant 
rights of way, easements, etc. 

The present agent is Hon. W. J. Martin; with the State superin- 
tendent and the State board of compromise he is working along the 
lines of the original act — 

to recover for the State those sixteenth section lands which, according to the records 
in the land office, still belong to the State as school lands, although occupied and 
claimed in many instances by others. 

Says the State superintendent, in his reports for 1911-12 and 

It is not improbable that many thousands of acres * * * during the past 50 
years have been lost to the State through a policy pursued in such matters less vigor- 
ously than the interests in hand made necessary. * ■^ * An aroused public interest 
is now manifest on this subject, more pronounced, perhaps, and offering a brighter 
prospect for a clearing of the situation than at any time in the past.^ 

With this purpose in view, suit was brought to recover title to some 
250,000 acres of school lands on the ground that the lands ''still 
belonged to the State, if the defendant had not got a title by adverse 
possession." It was also agreed that the defendant had such title if 
the statutes of Alabama limiting suits like this to 20 years were valid. 
The Alabama trial court ruled that the statutes were valid. The 
State supreme court declared that the agreed statement of facts 
raised the single question whether adverse possession of sixteenth 
section school lands under the code of 1896, section 2794, and its 
predecessors, ''was operative to invest title in an adverse holder of 
such lands imder color of title" and affirmed the decision of the lower 
court.^ The case was then appealed to the supreme coiu-t of the 
United States and came up as the State of Alabama, plaintiff in error, 
V. Schmidt. 

It was argued by representatives for the State that a State statute 
of limitations, whereby lands granted by the United States to a 
specific use are diverted from the use into private ownership, is in 
conflict with the act of Congress making the grant, and void. 

The lawyers for the defendant in error argued that " adverse posses- 
sion against any party in which title is so vested that such party may 

iLawofFeb. 23, 1899. 

2 Superintendent's report, 1911-12, pp. 42-43. Same statements in report for 1912-13, pp. 75-76. 

3 Reported in 180 Alabama Reports, 374. 


grant an indefeasible estate in fee simple ripens into a fee simple title 
by the operation of the statute of limitations." 

In its opinion handed down on January 26, 1914/ the supreme 
court of the United States affii-med the decision of the State supreme 
court : 

The above-mentioned act of Congress, under which Alabama became a State, pro- 
vided that section 16 in every township "shall be granted to the inhabitants of such 
township for the use of schools." Of course the State must admit, as it expressly- 
agreed, that these words vested the legal title in it, since it relies upon them for recov- 
ering in the present case. Any other interpretation hardly would be reasonable. 

* * * The argument for the plaintiff in error relies mainly upon Northern Pacific 
Ry. Co. V. Townsend (190 U. S., 267). ^ ^ * But it does not apply to a gift to a 
State for a public purpose of which that State is the sole guardian and minister, * * * 
It was held that the State of Michigan could sell its school lands without the consent 
of Congress, Cooper v. Roberts (18 How., 173), * * ^ qualified permission to sell 
was given to Alabama by a much later act of March 2, 1827. ^ * ^ The gift to the 
State is absolute, although, no doubt, as said in Cooper v. Roberts, "^ "^ ^ ''there 
is a sacred obligation imposed on its public faith." But that obligation is honorary 

* * * and even in honor would not be broken by a sale and substitution of a fund, 
as in that case; a course, we believe, that has not been uncommon among the States. 

* * * The result of Cooper v . Roberts and of what we have said is that the State had 
authority to subject this land in its hands to the ordinary incidents of other titles in the 
State and that the judgment must be affirmed. 

The annual receipts from this source are now small — usually not 
over a few thousand dollars — and come mainly from the School 
Indemnity Lands. ^ It would seem to make little difference whether 
the State uses this principal for running expenses and pays the interest 
on it by a tax collected directly or invests it ia bonds and collects 
running expenses through taxes. It seems to be merely a matter of 
the point of view. In either case the taxes must be paid, and the 
school authorities have been consistent in their efforts to make up to 
the poorer counties out of the general fund what comes to the richer 
ones out of their sixteenth section funds. The law for the distribu- 
tion of public funds in effect to-day is essentially the same as that 
evolved by Gen. Perry in 1854. The present law provides that: 

In making the apportionment of school money to the several districts, the superin- 
tendent of education shall first set apart to each township or other school district the 
amount due from the State thereto as interest on its sixteenth section fund or other 
trust fund held by the State, and all townships or school districts having an income 
from such source or from the lease or sale of sixteenth section lands shall not receive 
anything out of the balance of the educational fund to be apportioned until all other 
townships or school districts shall have received from the general fund such amount 
as will give them an equal per capita apportionment with the townships or districts 
having such income.^ 

1 Reported in 232 United States Reports, 168. 

2 These are lands "whicli have been heretofore or may hereafter be certified to the State for the use and 
benefit of the several townships or districts in which was a deficiency in the amount of land originally 
certified to the State for their benefit." See school laws of 1911, sec. 1782. Income from the indemnity 
lands is first mentioned by the auditor in 1899. For 1912-13 the additions to the fund were $25,571.23. 

3 Law of 1911, sec. 1764, p. 43. 



The total result, then, of the retentiou of the fiction of a paper fund 
derived from the sixteenth section lands, the payment of interest on 
this fund out of taxes, and the method of distribution required by the 
law, by and large, is a straight tax for schools distributed on the basis 
of school population, with a few townships as yet getting something 
more than the average per capita appropriation, but none getting less. 

As the fund available for education from taxation increases, the 
per capita apportionment will grow, and this slight difference between 
the township with the larger sixteenth-section fund and the average 
township will tend to disappear. When this has been accomphshed 
the whole paper fund theory may be abandoned as so much worth- 
less lumber. Its abandonment before that date would be an ill 
reward to those townships which by careful administration or other- 
wise have been able to turn over actual cash for the use of the State. 

It will be of interest to note where the best school lands lay and 
the amount of principal (all paper) owned by each of the counties on 
November 1, 1851, and October 1, 1912. At the latter date the 
school indemnity lands are included in the total. 

Principal of the Sixteenth-Section School Fund. 


Nov. 1, 1851. 

Oct. 1, 1912. 


Nov. 1, 1851. 

Oct. 1, 1912. 

















Benton (now Callioun) 



Blount ... 








7, 113. 29 





58, 741. 05 











Marengo . . 





251. 48 








2, on. 34 

771. 40 





115. 10 













St. Clair 









Franklin. . . 







Hancock (now Win- 





1,075, 807. &4 


The principal of the sixteenth section fund on October 1, 1914, 
amounted to $2,098,-557; the school indemnity fund amounted to 
$158,065; total, $2,256,622. 

Chapter IV. 

The course of educational developinent in Alabama is from the 
local to the general, from the city to the State, and for this reason 
the history of the Mobile schools is put first, since they furnished an 
example and a standard for the State. 

The germ of the Mobile system is to be found in the act of January 
10, 1826, by which there was created a board of ^^ school commis- 
sioners'' for the county of Mobile, in which the city of Mobile is 
situated. These commissioners were given full power — 

to establish and regulate schools, and to devise, put in force and execute such plans 
and devices for the increase of knowledge, educating youth and promoting the cause 
of learning in said county, as to them may appear expedient. 

This was the first school act passed by State authority that saw in 
education pubhc duty rather than private enterprise. It was the 
first to attempt the realization of pubHc duty by providing certain 
definite, fixed, and more or less rehable sources of income. These 

(1) All lands, grants, and immunities already conferred or that 
might be conferred by the State or the United States upon the inhab- 
itants of the county, or any organized part of it, for the purposes of 

(2) The fines, penalties, and forfeitures arising under the act '^ con- 
cerning the revenue of Mobile County,'' passed December 25, 1824, 
and including a 2 per cent tax on auction sales of real estate, slaves, 
hve stock, etc., and a license tax on shows, theaters, and similar 

(3) A tax fee of $2 on suits in the circuit and county courts. 

(4) Twenty-five per cent of the '^ordinary county tax." 

The act of incorporation also allowed the school commissioners to 
select the equivalent of a sixteenth section of the public land, while 
supplementary acts of 1827 and 1829 provided for a closer collection 
and more careful accounting for these various funds, and granted 
permission to raise $25,000 by lottery ^Mn aid of the fund for the 
support of schools in said county." An act of December 19, 1836, 
increased the amount to be thus raised to $50,000 and devoted it to 
the completion of what became known as Barton Academy. This 
act made minor changes in the matter of revenue and increased the 


total county tax by providing that the school tax should be derived 
from a separate levy equal to '^ one-quarter of the county tax." It 
required also that pubhc schools be established and maintained 
throughout Mobile County beyond the limits of the city of Mobile. In 
the meantime the square on which Barton Academy was later erected 
was secured (1830) and much of the money for building was raised 
by Henry Hitchcock. Silas Dinsmore was another supporter. The 
academy building was named for Willoughby Barton, who drew the 
original biU passed on January 10, 1826, creating the board of school 
commissioners for Mobile County.^ 

For a quarter of a century from the time of the first act there were 
numerous supplementary laws changing the details of administration. 
An act in 1840 ordered the erection of suitable buildings in each ward 
as soon as the '^ school fund on hand may be sufficient"; another, of 
1843, revised the personnel of the school board, made them a close 
corporation with the power of choosing their successors, ordered the 
payment of the debts of the old board out of the school funds and 
declared '^the plain intent and meaning" of the act to be that the 
commissioners should '^expend their funds in providing competent 
and suitable teachers." 

Under these favorable auspices the public school system of Mobile 
City and County, independent of the rest of the State, fairly well 
provided with funds and sufficient unto itself, was launched. It was 
to be expected from this recital of its opportunities and resources 
that the system would have sprung full-grown into the educational 
arena. UnUke most of the institutions of the day, the system was, 
in reality as well as in name, a child of the city, and it would seem 
that its commissioners had nothing to do but organize schools that 
would, in the main at least, look toward modern ideas. The com- 
missioners seemed to have had it in their power to become the pro- 
tagonists of public school education in the Southern States, but they 
did not know their day; they failed to take the rising tide that might 
have led to educational fortune. Instead of leading, for the quarter 
of a century between 1826 and 1851 the school commissioners did 
practically nothing toward organizing and opening schools of their 
own, but distributed the public funds equitably among the different 
parochial schools. ^ The funds thus distributed were, however, too 
small to pay any considerable part of the expense of these private 
schools, and for that reason the school commissioners neither had nor 
sought to have any control over the teachers or schools, and they did 

1 Hamilton, Mobile of the Five Flags, p. 254. 

2 This situation may be illustrated by the law of Feb. 4, 1846, which provided that the Methodist in 
Mobile might say when he paid his school tax whether his tax should go to the school of that denomina- 
tion, and, if so, to say also under what conditions children of other denominations might be admitted to 
the Methodist school without charge for tuition. 



little more than act as agents for the collection of public funds to be 
applied to the use of private schools. 

In 1851-52 the amount thus distributed amounted to $5,550, 
divided as follows: Methodist parish school, $1,200; Bethel schools, 
$1,300; Catholic schools, $1,200; Trinity schools, $500; various 
schools in the county, $1,350. These sums may perhaps be taken as 
about the average amount distributed from year to year. 

This state of affairs became unsatisfactory to all. The Barton 
Academy building was not used by the school board, but was rented 
for private schools and other purposes. It was supposed to be worth 
$40,000, but its income was not over $1,000 per year, and it was pro- 
posed in 1851 to sell the building, reinvest the proceeds to better 
advantage, and so increase the sum available for distribution to 
parochial schools. An act passed February 9, 1852, after providing 
that applicants for teachers' positions should furnish a '^ certificate of 
competency," gave permission for the sale of the academy building, 
if the people so desired. At once two parties sprang up; one insisted 
on the sale and maintenance of affairs as they then were. The other 
demanded that the Barton Academy building should be used for 
public schools, as had been the original intention, and that public 
schools should be maintained in reality and not in theory only. 

In the Mobile Daily Advertiser for July, 1852, Gen. Walter Smith 
argued that the Barton Academy was not then and never could be 
useful for the conduct of the public schools which were intended to 
give 'Ho all the children of the community, without distinction, a 
thorough common-school education (and no more)." For this pur- 
pose '^ several plain, substantial schoolhouses in different parts of the 
city would better serve than Barton Academy," for high schools, he 
argued, can not and never should be regarded as a part of t]tie public 
school system; that this building might be sold for $30,000, which 
would produce an annual income of $2,400, to go immediately into 
school work. 

Gen. Smith's argument was met through the columns of the 
Advertiser by K. B. Sewall, who showed a much clearer and more 
advanced conception of the scope of the public school system. In 
other States, he said, the system was threefold: (1) Primary schools; 
(2) grammar schools; (3) high schools; that these three parts made 
up the public school systein. The Barton Academy property had 
cost at least $100,000 and was now free from debt, and its sale, even 
with the idea of erecting other buildings, was unwise. 

It was also insinuated that the act permitting the sale had been 
engineered through the legislature after it was known that the people 
were against it. The proposition to sell had created, so the Adver- 
tiser said editorially the day before the election, "sl storm of indignation 
such as has been rarely witnessed in this community." 


The Advertiser said further: 

The plan of selling the Barton property having been once entertained, despite all 
the difficulties in the way, was prosecuted by some of our citizens with a zest and held 
to with a pertinacity that, had it been wisely directed to perfecting and putting in 
operation a judicious system of schools, would, we must think, have resulted much 
more beneficially to the cause of education in our city and county. 

The election was held August 2, 1852, and the ''no sale'' tickets 
won by a vote of 2,225 to 244. A new board of commissioners was 
chosen on the ''no sale" ticket, with whom were joined four mem- 
bers of the old board. They set to work to alter and repair Barton 
Academy and adapt it to the needs of the new system. A committee 
was appointed to consider and report on the best plan for organizing 
the schools, and their report was accepted on September 16, 1852. 
The resources of the board for the previous year were about $6,000, 
including rent for Barton Academy. This sum was now reduced by 
$1,000, and out of the remainder some old appropriations had to be 
met. But notwithstanding these discouragements, the school was 
opened November 1, 1852. On the opening day there were 400 
pupils; on February 1, 1853, the attendance stood: High school, 109; 
grammar school, 209; primary, 536; total, 854. For a time tuition 
fees were collected "in all the schools" — -the amount not specified. 
The system was again passed on by the county electors in 1853, and 
approved by a vote of 1,597 to 869. 

In the summer of 1853, Mr. Willis G. Clark, chairman of the com- 
missioners, visited the schools of other cities, studied their systems, 
and made a report. In 1854 the system was carefully examined, 
modified, and improved in the light of experience. The commis- 
sioners had served without pay, the work had increased, and it was 
now desired to extend tbe system beyond the city limits. A city 
superintendent was therefore appointed, and the city and county 
were divided into school districts. The receipts and expenditures 
for the years 1852-53 and 1853-54 were as follows: 


Licenses, auction duties, and taxes $17, 658. 21 

Tuition 10, 889. 81 

Donations, Samaritan Society 300. 00 

Total 28, 848. 02 


For country schools 2, 158. 61 

Balance appropriation old board for parochial schools 1, 050. 00 

City branch schools 642. 51 

Teachers 21, 802. 51 

Repairs, painting, salaries of officers, and incidentals 6, 775. 05 

Total 32, 428. 68 


It appears, therefore, that the average expenditures per year were 
$14,424.01 and the disbursements $16,209.34. The deficit for the 
two years was met on the personal credit of members of the board. 

The detailed report showed that the income from tuition was 
greater than that from taxes and that the former was therefore 
necessary for the stability and development of the schools. The 
rates charged, moreover, were lower than those charged at private 
schools and — 

as permits to attend the schools without charge were freely given to all pupils whose 
parents were unable to pay tuition for them, the means of acquiring a good education 
was brought, for the first time in Mobile, or Alabama, within reach of all classes in 
the community. 

It would appear from this extract from the history of the Mobile 
public schools, written by a member of the original board, that an 
efficient school system, without any tuition charges, was at that time 
an impossibility; that the schools then organized were far superior to 
any that had hitherto existed in Alabama; that free tuition was 
granted as a favor to the poor; that other patrons were required to 
pay for tuition, and that therefore the schools were not public schools 
in our sense. But it is evident that the persons interested in this 
system were making an honest and conscientious attempt to supply 
the children of Mobile County with a school system which had public 
support as its ultimate goal, and it is also stated that they attained 
so high a character that they were patronized even by the rich in 
preference to the best private schools in the city. 

The third session showed an enrollment of 1,012 pupils. Laws 
passed in 1854 enlarged the powers of the commissioners, increased 
their resources, and forbade that any part of their funds should be 
used for the support of sectarian schools. In 1855 the enemies of the 
system gathered their forces for a final struggle, were again defeated, 
and in October of that year an institute for the instruction of teachers 
was organized. The act of February 15, 1856, greatly promoted the 
development of the system, by providing that certain licenses should 
go to the schools and by granting an annual tax ''not exceeding one- 
twentieth of 1 per cent" upon the real and personal property of the 
county. This act was passed by an almost unanimous vote. 

The compliment had been paid the Mobile schools of exempting 
them from the conditions of the general State law of 1854. This local 
autonomy gave them an independence of action and power of taxa- 
tion not enjoyed elsewhere in the State, and so has opened to them the 
path of progressive educational development as yet denied by consti- 
tutional limitations to other sections of the State. 

The expenses for the school year ending July 31, 1856, were 
$21,899.23. The tuition fees collected were $14,712.80, and the total 
income was some $4,000 less than the expenditures. A school census 


taken in the fall of that year showed 3,620 school children within the 
city limits and 2,300 beyond, making 5,920 in the county. 

Under the action of the law of February 15, 1856, the income of the 
schools increased. The income and expenditures for the next thi^ee 
years may be tabulated as follows: 

Income and expenditures of the Mobile schools. 

Year ending 

July 31, 1857. 
July 31, 1858. 
July 31, 1859. 




45, 232. 18 

These figures indicate a steady, healthy growth, with an ever- 
decreasing margin of the excess of expenditures over income. 

The reports on attendance are not so favorable. In October, 1858, 
there was reported 4,314 city and 2,195 country children. The 
enrollment in the city schools on March 31, 1859, was 1,533, or 35.5 
per cent; the average daily attendance was 1,240, or 28.8 per cent. 

In 1859 the school commissioners took a step backward by deciding 
to abolish the office of school superintendent. This caused the oppo- 
sition again to rally against the schools, but they failed, and the 
schools were strengthened by the trials through which they passed. 

Until the war was in actual progress, the schools were very pros- 
perous; as income increased, tuition charges were reduced and the 
free list extended, so that, had no interruption occurred in this course 
of development. Mobile would have evolved from schools partly sup- 
ported by tuition fees and partly free to a system that would have 
been supported entirely by taxation and wholly free, and thus the 
stigma of pauper schools would have disappeared automatically. 

The schools were kept in operation during the days of the war, 
although with diminished attendance. They were closed in 1865, 
on the occupation of the city by the Federal forces under Gen. 
Granger. They were reorganized and reopened in the fall of that 
year, and a broader field of usefulness was developing for them when 
reconstruction came. During the throes of reconstruction, the 
school commissioners suJffered imprisonment rather than obey an 
illegal order, and in 1869 had their special privilege of a separate 
system abolished, being absorbed into the State organization. In 
^1875 the status of the earlier period was restored and has since been 
maintained, under the protecting aegis of the constitution itself. 

Chapter V. 

A STATE SYSTEM, 1819-1854. 

Turning from the city to the State, from local to general educa- 
tional efforts, it is seen that the period prior to 1854 was distinctly 
empirical. There was in it little besides a few legal provisions that 
probably never lived beyond the statute books; and the few efforts 
made for schools were mainly tentative, for the people were learning 
school keeping in the school of experience. 

The first law to consider the actual organization of schools was 
the act of December 17, 1819, which provided that the county agents 
be empowered to contract with "a teacher or teachers and for a 
school house or houses when and wheresoever they may think 
proper." The agents were made school trustees and given powers 
of superintendence and 'Hhe proceeds of each section" were to be 
applied 'Ho the purposes of education alone.'^ There is no record 
that this law produced any particular effect. 

The law of January 1, 1823, was more detailed and specific. It 
provided that the people were to elect three district school trustees 
who were to employ teachers ''at an annual salary or at a stated 
price for each scholar," build schoolhouses, "purchase books and 
stationery for the use of the school," and ^'designate tlie pupils who 
shall he admitted to the school without tuition fees.^^ The teachers 
were to be "duly examined" by the school commissioners. The 
local officers were to report to the county clerks and these to the 
general assembly, and were to include in their report the number of 
pupils "educated gratis." 

This act furnishes a key to the educational mind of the day as it 
appeared in Alabama: School lands were leased or sold; schools were 
free in the old sense, not in our present sense; all might attend, but 
all were not equal; the poor were received at the expense of the 
district; others paid for their tuition, and so the school was neither 
public nor private, but a cross^ between the two, and the State's 
bounty went only to the poor. 

The law of 1837 provided that district school trustees be elected. 
They were to manage the schools and report their proceedings to the 
county clerk, including the condition of the lands and funds, progress 


of schools, teachers, etc. The county clerks in their turn were to 
report to the governor. 

Up to this time presumably no money had been actually expended 
for schools. Certainly there was no workable law, and no statistics 
of such expenditures are to be had. The first law looking to this 
phase of the subject is the act of January 31, 1839. This act under- 
took to make the public-school system participate in the general 
prosperity of the State and to shape the lines of financial admin- 
istration. The law directed that the State bank and its branches 
should provide annually out of their ''net profits" the sum of $150,000 
''for the purpose of establishing and aiding in the establishment of 
schools." It directed further that on demand from the township 
trustees the bank should pay to the township as much, up to a limit 
of $200 and including whatever sum might have been earned by its 
own sixteenth-section funds, as the people had subscribed in the 
previous year. All of this money was to be used in paying for the 
tuition afforded in the previous year. If there were two or more 
schools in the same district, the money was to be divided between 
them "in proportion to the number of regular students at each school," 
but no citizen was to be entitled "to an amount exceeding the 
amount by him actually subscribed;" if there were indigent per- 
sons who wished to send their children to the school, but were too poor 
to subscribe, they were reported by the commissioners and listed as 
subscribing $10 each. The total so subscribed was not to exceed 
$100. A part of the State fund equaling these poor subscriptions 
was to be used exclusively "for the education of the indigent scholars 
of the township." 

By act of February 3, 1840, the amount to be furnished by the 
State bank was increased from $150,000 to $200,000, and the rate 
of payment was fixed at $12 per pupil. The total contributed to 
each township was not to exceed $400, and this v/as to include all 
interest earned by the sixteenth-section lands. An amount equal 
to one- third of that asked from the State bank was to be collected 
by private subscriptions and to the commissioners was given the 
power "to say what scholars shall be educated free from charge." 

The laws of 1839 and 1840 evidently assumed that the schools were 
to be organized on local initiative, that certain sums were to be sub- 
scribed and collected and the schools actually taught in advance of 
any State aid; that the upper classes were to take the lead in these 
matters and pay tuition for their children. This is also evident from 
the amount appropriated, for at $12 per head $200,000 could educate 
only about 17,000 pupils, and since in 1840 there were 335,185 white 
persons in the State, the total school population was not far from 
90,000. State activities looked only to the education of the poor. 

75075°— 15 4 


This situation was greatly modified by the subsequent fortunes of 
the State bank. As has been shown in chapter 3, by 1842 the bank 
could no longer meet its obligations, and the requirements of February 
3, 1840, were repealed by the act of January 21, 1843. 

In the meantime, what about the actual administration of the 
schools? Among other troubles it was apparently very difiicult at 
this time to differentiate between public and private (which were 
generally denominational) schools. The question was discussed 
time and again whether parents might send their children to schools 
outside the district and still draw their pro rata of school funds. This 
was decided affirmatively. The repeal and subsequent reaffirmation 
of the law indicates the interest felt in the matter and would seem to 
show that private and denominational schools in this way came to 
receive a part of the public bounty — a view sustained and supported 
by the act of 1848 which provides that the proper proportion of the 
public funds might be paid to ''any other schools.^' ^ It would seem, 
therefore, that at this time the major part of the public State funds, 
as in Mobile, probably went to private and denominational schools 
and that little supervision was or could be exercised. 

The census of 1840 reports school statistics for Alabama as follows: 
Two colleges, with 152 pupils; 114 academies, with 5,018 pupils; and 
639 primary schools, with 16,243, making a total of 21,413 pupils, of 
whom 3,213 were "at public charge.'* 

Four years later comes a statement on the same subject from State 
sources which are perhaps more accurate. The ' ' Tabular Statement 
of Census of Alabama taken in the year 1844" (Tuscaloosa, 1844), 
page 5, reports: 

Number of colleges and high schools 7 

Students in colleges and high schools 626 

Academies '. 131 

Pupils in academies 5, 266 

Common schools 858 

Pupils in common schools ' 21, 982 

Total at all schools - 27, 874 

Source material for the educational status of this period is all too 
small. Educational effort was being made, but the leaders were 
themselves inexperienced. They were learning by experience; this 
process was both costly and slow, and little record seems to have 
been made of their efforts. Of the flush times represented by the 
full years of 1839 to 1843, when the schools were receiving some 
$200,000 out of the income of the banks, only the meager records 
already quoted seem to exist. The State documents for the period* 

1 See also the law of Feb. 3, 1846, which orders the commissioners of a certain school district (Demopolis) 
"to distribute the annual interest * * * among the several scholars residing therein, whether the said 
scholars attend the school or schools established by the legal oflficers of said township, or any other school.'* 


prior to 1854 which have been available give us little light on the 
subject; and for definite statistics we must depend on the Federal 
censuses of 1840 and 1850, incomplete as they are. But it is evident 
that even then the spirit of education was moving on the face of the 
waters of ignorance. Public leaders, vaguely conscious of their needs, 
were groping, blindly, it may be, but nevertheless with hope for better 
things. This is evident from the message of Gov. Reuben Chapman 
to the legislature, November 13, 1849, in which he discusses the com- 
mon schools in general, and agricultural education in particular: 

The agricultural interest in this State is believed to exceed in value, and in the 
number of persons connected with it, all the other industrial pursuits; and while the 
other interests, so much less important, have been more or less fostered, agriculture has 
been suffered to languish, until much of our fertile soil has become impoverished and 
unproductive, from an unskillful and injudicious system of cultivation, and many of 
our citizens have removed, and others are moving, from this State, in search of new 
lands to subject to the same ruinous system. 

That the lands so worn out can be restored to their original fertility, and the system 
of cultivation be so improved as to maintain that fertility and increase their capacity 
for production, the experience of other States leaves no room to doubt. If agriculture 
is the groundwork of all industrial prosperity, and the strength of a State depends 
upon the number, as well as the character, of its population, we are all interested in 
adopting such an improved system in the cultivation of our lands as may increase 
immeasm^ably the wealth of our State, and take away from the most useful class of our 
population all motive for emigration. Nine-tenths of our young men are destined to 
become tillers of the soil, yet we are without a school in the State where scientific 
agriculture is taught, when by the establishment of an agricultural school we might 
raise up among us a class of scientific farmers. Civil engineering and architecture are 
professions by means of which scientific information is made practical for the benefit 
of those who have knowledge of the science upon which either is based, and by the 
practice of which their professors make a respectable living. So scientific agriculture 
might be made a profession with us, the professors of which, by visiting farms, analyzing 
their soil, examining their local position, superficial character, etc., might be able to 
place within the reach of the least enlightened of our agiicultural population all the 
benefits of experimental science, and, in so doing, at the same time, advance their own 
pecuniary interest. 

The best mode that occurs to me for the accomplishment of an object so highly 
important wonld be that the legislatm-e should request the board of trustees of the 
university to establish in that institution a professorship of agriculture, and that con- 
nected with it there should be a farm for experiments. The duty of such professor 
might be to superintend the cultivation of the farm, with the view to determine the 
best mode of raising the staple and other agricultural products of the State, of protect- 
ing them from the attacks of destructive insects, testing the comparative value of the 
different varieties of seed, and the various modes of resuscitating the worn out lands; to 
deliver public lectures at stated times, and to publish an agricultural paper, in which 
might be reported lectures delivered, and the character and result of all experiments 
made. The benefits that would arise from the establishment of such a department in 
our university are such, it appears to me, as would authorize the State to make the 
appropriations necessary to defray the expenses. 

The subject of common schools deserves all the consideration and encouragement it 
is in the power of the general assembly to bestow. The whole theory of our form of 
Government is based upon the capacity of the people. Withoat a general diffusion of 
intelligence among them, the machinery of a Government thus constituted can not be 


expected to move on successfully. The highest and most important of all the duties 
of a free Government is to advance the cause of education, and guard against that 
decline of liberty which results from neglecting the minds of the people. 

Unfortunately for our State, her financial condition will not allow her to do more 
than to make a faithful application of the fund granted by Congress for that important 
object. By an act of the last session. State stock for so much of this fund as had been 
received from the sixteenth sections sold was required to be issued to the townships 
respectively entitled to it. This has been done, and the interest stipulated upon it 
has been paid in the mode provided. 

It is to be regretted that this fund, which consists in the sixteenth section in each 
township, has been clogged with such conditions in the grant that the noble end 
designed can not be accomplished — that is, to provide for the education of that portion 
of our population who have not other means. The sixteenth sections that are at all 
valuable are generally in those townships where the white inhabitants are less numer- 
ous, and are generally in circumstances not requiring such aid, while the poor sections 
are generally found in townships where the limited circumstances of the citizens deny 
their children the opportunities of education from their own means. 

If the whole sixteenth section fund could, without a violation of good faith, be 
brought within the power of the general assembly, I would recommend its exclusive 
application to the education of those who are without other means. ^ 

Gov. Chapman was succeeded in. office by Henry W. Collier. In his 
message to the legislature, December 20, 1849, he discussed the com- 
mon-school system somewhat in detail and outlined a plan of action: 

Our plan of common-school education, if indeed we have one, is eminently defec- 
tive, if for no other reason, because it wants a head to direct its operations, to prescribe 
the course of instruction, to receive at least once a year reports of the condition of 
the township schools — the number of scholars, male and female; the amount paid to 
teachers from the income of the sixteenth-section fund ; the contribution of patrons, etc. 
Such a modification of our system with other corresponding changes, would infuse 
into the cause of education generally new life, and in particular elevate primary 
schools. The standard of education in these is generally far below the wants of the 
pupils, and it is a patriotic duty resting upon us with great force to endeavor to raise 
it higher. * * * 

No one should be employed as a teacher whose moral character is not unexception- 
able, who does not combine amiability with a due degree of sternness, and shall not be 
found competent upon a satisfactory examination to teach orthography, reading, pen- 
manship, arithmetic, English grammar, modern geography, and the history of the 
United States. It would be very desirable if his knowledge extended further, so as to 
give some general instruction to the male scholars upon agriculture and the mechanic 
arts, and thus fit them for the practical duties of life. * * * 

There should also be a director of common schools for each county, and three trustees 
for each township. The latter should provide for the erection and repair of school- 
houses when necessary; should endeavor to collect a township library by voluntary 
contributions, until it shall be deemed expedient to appropriate a fund for the pur- 
chase of books; should examine, or cause to be examined, applicants to teach, stipu- 
late their compensation, make settlements with them, etc. 

It is not desirable to multiply offices too much, and I therefore suggest that the 
judges of the county courts in their respective counties should be county directors; 
they should receive reports from the trustees of the townships. ^ * -^ 

A superintendent should be a man of energy, benevolence, education, amiable dis- 
position, and strong common sense, wholly untrammeled by other duties. His powers 

1 Message of Gov. Chapman, Montgomery, 1849, pp. 23-25. 


should all be enlisted in the business; he should be required to devote a certain por- 
tion of his time in endeavoring to awaken an interest in popular education. 

That the fund may be productive of the most good to those who really need it, I 
recommend that it be explicitly provided that only those who are pupils of the teachers 
employed by the township trastees should receive any portion of it. In some of the 
townships the income of the fund has been distributed among all the schools within 
them according to the number of the scholars, often making the benefit too inconsider- 
able to aid the dependent.^ 

But Gov. Collier was ahead of the representatives of the people. 
The committee of the legislature to whom this message was referred 
answered in glowing platitudes and expatiated on the necessity of 
common schools and then regretted that the ^' heavy public expendi- 
ture" could not permit aay State contribution ^Ho the enterprise." 

As a substitute for a general State system, the committee thought 
that ^^a few splendid educational piizes" in the shape of free courses 
at the university would be quite adequate ^Ho educate a sufficient 
number of our young men for the useful and honorable profession of 
teachers to supply the wants of the State." There was the same 
situation in the assembly of 1851-52. A committee of the house on 
education, Charles P. Kobinson, chairman, made a report in which 
the whole educational situation was reviewed. The burden of this 
report was the sixteenth-section funds. This is what was understood 
by public education, and for that reason the State had failed to 
respond — 

to the demands of the people. Instead of encouraging education by the application of 
the means which the people have ever been ready to yield [i. e., taxation], legislatures 
have seemed to consider all education as connected in some way with the sixteenth- 
section fund. 

The committee then presented a tabular statement in which they 
show that 89 townships received $32,736.21 from their sixteenth- 
section funds; 629 others received $31,912.25, and the remaining 794 
townships seem to have received nothiag. This unequal state of 
affairs led the committee to say: 

A grant founded in the noble policy of providing a secure and permanent source of 
education to all who would avail themselves of it has issued in the raising by general 
taxation, annually, the sum of $64,548.46 [sic]. This sum is applied, in great part, to 
those counties least in need of this assistance, and what is still more important, in the 
wealthier portions of such counties. Nor does the evil stop here. It is to be feared, 
from this inefficient system of the present school laws, that the money is not always 
applied to the support of free schools in the townships, open and accessible to all the 
children thereof. 

The committee thought that out of the ^^130,000 children" in the 
State between 5 and 15 ''only between 35,000 and 40,000" were at 
school during the year. They did not offer a bill for a system of 
public schools, but brought in one to authorize the governor to 
appoint a State superintendent at $3,000 per year. It was to be 

1 Message of Gov. Collier, Dec. 20, 1849, Montgomery, 1849, pp. 33, 34, 35. 


his duty to visit the counties, make pubhc addresses, and arouse 
interest in education. He was to make a census of school children 
between 5 and 16 and ascertain the number of schools and academies. 
He was to be a missionary, a voice crying in the wilderness, a guide, 
philosopher, and friend, and prior to October 1, 1853, was to report 
to the governor the draft of a bill for a public school system. 

The logic of the committee was irrefutable; the superintendent 
was badly needed, but the bill did not become a law, for the time 
had not come when the citizens of Alabama could look squarely in 
the face the problem of taxation for public schools. 

It wiU be noted that through all the discussion there was the 
idea that the public funds should be devoted exclusively to the edu- 
cation of the poor. The dominant note does not seem to be that of 
contemptuous concession to those who could not help themselves — 
the pauper school idea — nor yet the modern idea that the State edu- 
cates for its own protection and in order to give to each the oppor- 
tunity for fullest development, but a position between the two. 
There was a certain consciousness present with the slaveholding 
element that for the laboring classes the education received in the 
pubHc schools was the best, and should for that reason be devoted to 
them in its entirety, not as a dole, nor yet as a right, but as a charity 
from the more fortunate to those who were less so. 

When we consider the amount of income available from these 
funds; when we remember the deep-rooted hostihty to taxation that 
characterized these people, and their extreme jealousy of anything 
that looked Hke centralization of power; when we recall that practi- 
cally all men in Alabama who thought were able to educate their 
own children out of their private means, we can better understand 
the feeling which would devote the pubUc funds to ^Hhe education 
of those who are without other means." The slaveholder was will- 
ing to surrender his proportion of these pubhc funds, not in the 
sense that he patronized and looked down with contempt on his 
poorer neighbor, but because, by refusing to share in this fund, 
by bearing his own educational burdens, he could help the general 
cause, help the State bear this burden, which the individual most 
benefited by it was unable to do, and at the same time Hmit the 
activity of the State. 

All parties were now beginning to look toward the same goal. 
In his message to the assembly in November, 1851, Gov. Collier had 
again emphasized his position on education : 

Primary school instruction can not be dignified as a system until it has a head to 
direct and supervise its operations. A superintendent * * ^ should be appointed 
by legislative authority. He should traverse the State, address the people, visit and 
examine schools, and inquire into the qualifications of teachers, as often as a proper 
attention to his other duties would permit. 


Gov. Collier again failed to get what he had recommended, but 
with 1851-52 the period of legislative empiricism ends. With 
1853-54 came new leaders, a new law, and a new awakening. Hith- 
erto the first had been absent, the laws had been ineffective, and the 
time for the awakening had not yet arrived. 

In the meantime what was the actual status of pubhc education 
in the State and what were the legal requirements in the case ? 

Under the code of 1852 the duties of the school trustees required 
them to take the census of children 8 to 21 years of age; to divide 
the townships into school districts; 

to establish in each school district, for at least three months in each year, a school 
for instruction in the common English branches — treading, writing, arithmetic, spell- 
ing, grammar, and geography; and to locate schools, provide schoolhouses, employ 
teachers, etc. 

The total white population of the State in 1850 was 426,514, and 
we may assume that this represented a school population of over 
100,000. The census of 1850 shows: 

(1) Five colleges, with 55 teachers and 567 students. These insti- 
tutions report $5,900 income from endowment, $395 from pubhc 
funds, and $35,050 from other sources, making $41,255 in all. 

(2) The academies and other schools were 166 in number, with 
380 teachers and 8,290 pupils. They reported an income of $164,165, 
of which $4,949 came from pubhc funds. 

(3) There were reported 1,152 pubhc schools, with 1,195 teachers, 
showing that they were nearly all one-teacher schools, with 28,380 
pupils. They had a total income of $315,602, of which $800 came 
from taxation, $56,367 from pubhc funds, and $2,916 from endow- 

From these figures, apparently compiled from the reports made 
by the schools themselves, it is seen that there were then 37,237 
pupils of all grades in the schools of the State, but when the statistics 
were gathered by famihes, it was found that 62,778 pupils had been 
'^attending school during the year.'' It will probably be safe to 
assume that the census by schools represented a daily average attend- 
ance and the one by famihes the total enrollment. It will be noted 
also that the census does not report the length of school term, nor 
consider the efficiency of teachers. It is probably not far from the 
truth to assume that while the census figures may be essentially 
correct there were no real pubhc schools; that the schools which 
passed under that name were private institutions supplemented by 
public funds, and that their work when weighed in the balance of 
specific accomplishment, was not of great importance. 

This judgment is based on testimony no less authoritative than that 
of the State superintendent himself. 


Gen. William F. Perry became the first superintendent of public 
instruction, in 1854. In 1897-98 he published his reminiscences of 
the condition of the public schools at the time he took charge.^ 

He says, in part: 

Nothing entitled to the name of a system of education had ever existed. There was 
a fund amounting at that time to about $1,000,000, belonging * * * not to the 
State, but to the individual townships. This fund, so far from being an aid, was really 
an obstacle in the way of the establishment of a general system of schools. Its use- 
lessness for such a purpose was due to the great inequality of its distribution. There 
were many hundreds of to^vnships whose school lands were totally valueless; and 
probably more than half the remainder possessed funds so small as to be practically 
valueless. There were whole counties whose township funds consolidated would 
hardly have supported a single decent school. It should be remembered, too, that 
these sections of the State contained a white population at once the densest and the 
most needy. 

The townships having the largest school endowment were found chiefly in the 
Tennessee Valley and in the central portion of the State, known as the Black Belt. 
While it is true that the funds of most of them were legitimately and wisely used, it is 
also true that they belonged to those who were in least need of aid, and it is equally 
true that many of the most richly endowed townships were covered with cotton planta- 
tions and negro quarters and had no schools at all. 

But what had the great mass of the people done for themselves? Left without 
guidance, encouragement, or any material help from without, what means had they 
employed, and what facilities had they created for the education of their children? 

•5«- * -Jt 

The answers * * * are as various as are the conditions which prevailed in 
different localities. In the towns and villages were generally found school buildings 
more or less commodious, but rudely and uncomfortably furnished, and defaced by 
abuse and neglect. The teachers looked to the patronage alone for support * * -^^ 

It is painful to recall * * * the wretched provision made- for the education 
of the young in those large areas of the State where the land is unproductive and the 
people were poor. Hundreds of townships were entirely without a school; and there 
were whole blocks of counties that could boast of scarcely a single pleasantly located, 
comfortable schoolhouse. Many that I saw in my travels through the State beggared 
description. But for the rude benches visible through the cracks, and the broken 
slates and tattered spelling books scattered around them, any one would have been 
at a loss to determine for what purpose connected with civilized life they were 

It may reasonably be supposed that the character of the instruction received by the 
children in such places was on a par with their material surroundings. Where there 
were no township funds, there were no trustees. Any one could get the use of the 
wretched, makeshift of a house who could secure from parents a sufficient number of 
pupils, pledged under written articles of agreement ^ * * It goes without saying 
that only teachers of a very low grade of qualifications could be obtained. A majority 
of them, at that time, were men, and in most cases, men who had resorted to teaching 
because they had proved unfit for anything else. 

But Gen. Perry was able to mention at least one pleasing exception 
to the above picture of general gloom. It is that of a Lancastrian 
school in perfect working order. 

1 Trausactions Alabama Historical Society, vol. 2. 


He says: 

In rare cases enterprising teachers succeeded in arousing a strong local interest and 
in building up what might be termed country academies, in which the classics and 
sciences were taught, and aspiring young men received their preparation for college. 

To illustrate the power of personal magnetism and the extent to which even the 
humblest people can be stirred by the desire for improvement, I can not forbear 
mentioning a school that I visited, when a youth, among the hills of DeKalb County. 
A stranger came to the neighborhood and began teaching in a rude schoolhouse. 
Interest was awakened, and the house was soon filled. Interest grew into enthusiasm, 
and to accommodate the increasing members, rough sheds, covered with boards, were 
constructed around the house, and to them were added bush arbors, until the place 
resembled an old-fashioned religious camp-ground. There were in attendance, I 
suppose, not less than 150 pupils of all ages, from 6 to 30. The principal occupied the 
house; each shed was presided over by an assistant; while the arbors were filled with 
classes in spelling, reading, geography, and simple numbers, which were presided 
over by their own members, each in his turn assuming the duty of leadership, and 
going over the entire lesson before surrendering the place to a successor. The utmost 
ceremony was observed in every change, and each leader, on taking his place, was 
saluted with profound obeisance by the class. The whole machinery seemed to move 
with the utmost precision, and no evidence was anywhere visible. of idleness, mis- 
behavior, or disorder. 

Chapter VI. 

SYSTEM, 1854-1856. 

With the beginning of the sixth decade of the century the public 
conscience of Alabama — and by this is meant the conscience of a few 
high-minded leaders among the slave-holding class — was being quick- 
ened into a broader conception of duty to the humbler citizenship in 
a common democracy. These leaders could well afford to educate 
their own children at private institutions; the poorer citizens could 
not, and all help for them must come through the State. Therefore, 
with an unselfishness for which these aristocratic slaveholders have 
received scant credit, they set to work to organize a system which 
would educate the children of all freemen. Their misfortune was 
that, having no experience to guide, they sought information only 
through empiricism, and they made mistakes which dearly cost them 
and the people whom they sought to serve. They were hampered by 
lack of means and scarcity of population, and it is not just to hold 
up these men, or their system of slavery, as the cause of the failure 
of schools. In North CaroHna the common-school idea had been 
worked out with a high degree of success before the Civil War. Other 
States were facing the same problem, each in its own way, and had 
not the war intervened there is every reason to believe they would 
have attained, before many years more, a satisfactory solution. 

In 1853 the State had a public school fund of more than a million 
dollars; it had reorganized its sixteenth section fund, had gotten it 
free from its entangUng alhance with the old State bank, and had 
tried out various plans of its own and found them failures. The 
ground was fallow, and there was the contagious example of success- 
ful schools in Mobile. To the State senate of 1853-54 there came 
from Lauderdale Robert M. Patton, later governor; and to the house 
Alexander Beaufort Meek, from Mobile, and Jabez Lamar Monroe 
Curry, from Talladega. These were the men who made possible the 
school law of 1853-54. The drafting of the school bill was referred 
to Judge Meek, chairman of the house committee on education. 
With his draft went a report in which is reviewed the general educa- 
tional situation in Alabama. 

After discussing the value of education in the abstract and paying 
the usual meed of praise to progressive New England, Judge Meek 


boldly puts forward the establishment of a system of common schools 
in Alabama not on the ground of favor or charity, but because it 
represented "not only the highest interest, but the clear right and 
imperative duty" of the State; there was even in his mind a glimmer 
of the modern doctrine of self protection: "The property of a State 
is dependent for protection and safety upon such a system, and should 
therefore pay for its establishment and maintenance.^^ The doctrine 
of "protection and safety" is certainly nearer to modern ideas than 
it is to the older doctrine of charity and paupers. 

The difficulty before the committee was how to equalize the very 
unequal distribution of the sixteenth section fund. Says Judge Meek 
for the committee : 

The inequalities in the distribution of the sixteenth section bounty may be forcibly 
illustrated by a few facts. The total number of townships in this State is 1,572. Of 
these, 873 have sold their sixteenth sections, leaving 699 which have not made a sale, 
from their sections being below the minimum value. Those that were sold embraced 
558,720 acres, and brought $1,575,598. The residue of the sections, if sold, it is esti- 
mated, would swell this amount to about $2,000,000 — the munificent donation of the 
General Government for schools in this State. 

From reports heretofore made it appears that the value of the sixteenth sections 
in the 13 counties of Autauga, Chambers, Dallas, Greene, Limestone, Lowndes, Madi- 
son, Montgomery, Perry, Pickens, Sumter, and Tuscaloosa is at least one-third more 
than half the value of all the other sixteenth sections in the State, while the white 
population of those counties is but little more than one-fourth of that of the whole 
State. Dallas County, with a white population of about 7,000, has an annual fund 
of near $5,000, while Mobile, with near 18,000 white inhabitants, has no fund. Coosa, 
with a white population of near 11,000, does not get annually $600, and Pike, with 
near 13,000, gets less than $450. The whole county of Covington receives but |6.90, 
while one township in Perry gets $1,200 annually, and another but 67 cents. 

These funds, which Judge Meek happily characterized as "mis- 
applied bounties,^' belonged, as we have seen, to the individual town- 
ships and could not, under the law, be pooled in a common State 

He says. 

The limitations of this beneficent grant have defeated the very object for which it 
was intended — the advancement of education — and have been the chief cause of the 
obstacles which have existed to the establishment of a public school system in this 
State, for there have been sufficient indications in the past that the people would not 
favor any system of public schools which did not embrace the sixteenth section fund 
within purview of its arrangements, and give to the munificent appropriations some 
equitable and efficient application. 

Your committee * -s^- * have accordingly prepared, with great care and labor, 
a system of free public schools, in which this is made the fundamental and pervading 
provision. They have proceeded on the principle that every child in our State, of 
suitable age, is entitled to a sufficient sum to give him the elementary branches of 
knowledge, free of cost, and that when any child does not receive such sum from the 
sixteenth section fund, it should be afforded to him by the State, * * * the ob- 
ject being to establish in every township, where the number of children demands it, 
at least one free public school, for primary instruction. * * * To meet this want 


will require reasonably liberal appropriations. * * * Surely $2 a scholar is the 
lowest minimum which could be regarded as adequate for that purpose. ^ * * 
There can be no doubt that the people of this State would more gladly accede to such 
a disposition of the funds in the treasury than to any other. They exhibit in the 
clamorous demands which have been sent up every year for the establishment of 
common schools and in the utterance of all the organs of thought and sentiment in 
our State. It is not from any one class that this appeal comes — from no favored few — 
but from the great body of the people * * * whose voice should be heard and 
obeyed. ^ * -sf- There can be no doubt that it is the unquestionable right, the 
highest interest, and the most imperative duty of the State to educate her children. 

The bill introduced by Judge Meek, which became a law on Feb- 
ruary 15, 1854, created in the first place an ''Educational fund/' 
consisting of — 

(1) The annual interest at 8 per cent of that part of the surplus 
revenue deposited by the United States with Alabama under the 
congressional act of June 23, 1836. 

(2) The annual interest at 8 per cent on the proceeds of sales of 
certain lands granted by the United States for the use of schools in 
the valueless sixteenth sections, under act of August 11, 1848.^ 

(3) The annual interest at 6 per cent on the funds which have or 
may accrue from sales of sixteenth section lands. 

(4) $100,000 from the State treasury. 

(5) All money arising from escheats. 

(6) An annual tax of $100 for each $100,000 of capital stock of 
every bank, insurance or exchange company, or in that proportion. 

(7) An annual tax of $100 levied on every railroad after it had 
declared dividends. 

(8) An annual tax of $100 on every agency of any foreign bank, 
insurance or exchange company. 

In his first report the State superintendent wrote of these various 
sources of revenue as follows (pp. 3-4) : 

The two funds placed under his control, under the general title of "Educational 
Fund, "were created at different times, were subject to different laws, and sustained 
different relations. One was the property of the State, consolidated and unchanging 
in amount; ^ the other belonged to the townships in their individual capacity, dis- 
tributed among them in all possible amounts, ranging from a few cents per annum 
to many hundreds of dollars, and was constantly accumulating. A small portion of 
the latter was still under the mangement of the banks, another and much the larger 
was in the treasury; a third, in the form of sixteenth-section notes, was found in the 
office of the comptroller of public accounts, and scattered over the State in the hands 
of trustees, withheld under special laws, or in defiance of law. 

To unite these funds thus situated, and bring them under one general system of 
accounts which would do full justice to all, and more than justice to none, cost an 
amount of thought and labor which he had not been prepared to expect, and which 
few, perhaps, now can realize. 

1 This referred to the transfer of certain lands granted for internal improvements by act of Sept. 4, 1841, 
to "the use of schools in such townships of said States as in which the sixteenth or school sections are 
comparatively valueless."— S. at L., ix, 281. 

2 The Surplus Revenue Fund of 1836. 


The administrative officers provided were: 

(1) A State superintendent of education. 

(2) Three commissioners of free public schools in each county. 

(3) Three trustees in each township. 

The superintendent was to be elected by the assembly for two 
years and was paid $2,000 per annum, and his duties — those usually 
pertaining to this position — were defined. The commissioners in- 
cluded the county judge of probate and were elected by the people. 
They had a general supervision of schools in the county and were to 
control all school moneys. They might provide houses, apparatus, 
books, libraries, or other conveniences, and served without pay. 
The trustees were elected by the people, could establish schools, 
and employ teachers who were in every case to be first ''examined 
and licensed." 

The State superintendent was made the authority in control and 
management of Federal funds, and all funds were to pass through 
the State treasury. School age was fixed at 5 to 18, and the super- 
intendent was instructed to seek to equalize, by means of the Educa- 
tional Fund, 'Hhe irregularities of distribution produced by the 
sixteenth-section fund," which was also made a part of the Educa- 
tional Fund. 

The commissioners had authority to consolidate weak townships 
and the trustees were required to have the pupils divided — graded 
as we say — 

into at least four classes, the first of which, shall be known and designated as the pri- 
mary class. This class shall embrace instructions in reading, writing, and simple 
arithmetic, and such instruction shall always be given to all pupils requiring it, free 
of any cost or charge * * * . The other classes * * -^ shall be made succes- 
sively free of any cost for instruction, according to such gradations, whenever the fund 
coming to the township or united townships for school purposes, from any source, 
will justify it. 

In cases where public funds were not sufficient to make all classes 
free, ''moderate tuition fees" were to be charged in order to give 
the teacher "a fair compensation for his services." 

Each county was "authorized" to raise annually by special tax 
upon real and personal property an amount not exceeding 10 cents 
on the $100 valuation, "for the support of common schools therein 
and for providing suitable houses and purchasing libraries and 
apparatus for such schools." These moneys were to be paid into 
the county treasury, were apportioned therefrom, and at least 50 
per cent of this local fund had to go for the payment of teachers. 
All money from "the State school fund" had to be used for teachers 
only and all teachers were to be "duly examined, approved, and 
employed by competent and lawful authority." 


This school act — a remarkable one, when we consider the time 
and the State in which it was enacted — provided as follows : 

(1) An educational fund was established by recognizing existing 
sources of income and creating new ones. It authorized, but did 
not command, a local tax and the public schools thus established 
were to be supported from the income of the State school funds and 
from local taxation. There was no direct State taxation for schools, 
although the State contribution of $100,000 of necessity came from 
taxes. In this way, local self help was encouraged by the recognition 
and financial aid of the State, which also sought to equalize from its 
own funds the inequalities between rich and poor communities. 

(2> The primary work was made absolutely free from tuition 

(3) The grading of classes and the examination and certification 
of teachers were provided for. 

The weakness of the law was the lack of efficient supervision. The 
superintendent did not have sufficient power to compel reports. The 
county commissioners were in part public officials already, and 
neither they nor the township trustees were required to show any 
particular fitness for their work, nor were they paid for their services. 
It was a public school system without proper local supervision, and 
without the necessary centralization. Yet it did not escape criti- 
cism, protests against it being recorded in both houses. That of the 
senate, signed by six members, was long and bitter. It characterizes 
the law as ^^ unjust and totally inadequate.'^ The objectors charged 
that the law set aside $83,333 ^Ho be applied beyond the limits of the 
townships to which it belongs." This fund was characterized as a 
^'sacred trust" while the house objectors styled it a ^'vested right." 
The ^'extraordinary power" given to the superintendent was assailed, 
the '* generous confidence" granted was '' liable to abuse" and gave 
'Hoo large a range of discretion." The entire sum — 

is left in the discretion of one man, with the only qualification that his rule of distri- 
bution shall equalize sixteenth sections, of which it leaves him the sole and exclusive 
judge * * ^ The bill, repudiating as it partially does, the sixteenth section 
funds as due and belonging to the inhabitants of the townships, does not give these 
townships the poor privilege of having the law to prescribe the rule of decision, but 
by the will of one man and in the way the temptations of self interest and the allure- 
ments of ambition may prompt him. 

Both protests were probably justified in objecting to appropria- 
tions on any other basis than that of actual attendance. The 
senate protest ants also objected — 

because $2,000 are appropriated to pay the superintendent and $3,000 more to the 
circulation of essays, periodicals, and to enlighten the people and not to educate the 
children as the bill proposes — thereby wasting enough money to educate annually 
1,000 of the indigent children of the State. 


Of the unheard-of and radical proposals of the bill the house 
objectors said: ^^Such provisions are not adapted to our latitude, 
and need only to be named to be seen to be objectionable." Nor 
did the senate objectors fail to make their appeal to religious bigotry. 

The powers conferred on the superintendent are extraordinary. He can govern 
every free school in the State absolutely, prescribe the course of study, the books, 
say which are sectarian or what not, and exclude or admit them at will. The cunning 
freethinker or sectarian would want no better opportunity than this to impress his 
own opinions upon the entire State through the rising generation. 

This Alabama State law of 1854, product of the brain of Alexander 
Beaufort Meek, lawyer and judge, editor and legislator, poet and 
soldier, shows a grasp of educational problems, a comprehension of 
school difficulties and school needs and a modernity of methods and 
aims that are truly astonishing. 

The assembly chose as its first State superintendent, William F. 
Perry, an experienced and enlightened teacher who had long been 
connected with private schools in the State and who later became a 
brigadier general in the Confederate army. He was urged for this 
place by Gen. J. Tipton Bradford, Hon. J. L. M. Curry, and Chief 
Justice W. P. Chilton, the opposing caadidate being Rev. Dr. Andrew 
A. Lipscomb, a teacher and scholar then living in Montgomery and 
later chancellor of the University of Georgia. 

General Perry has told his experiences in organizing the schools in 
his Reminiscences, already quoted. He says: 

After setting my oflSice in order, I opened correspondence with the judges of probate, 
asking them to order elections of trustees in the townships and to instruct them, when 
elected, to ascertain and report the number of youths of school age in their respective 
townships. '^ * * I was ignorant enough to expect that the work could be accom- 
plished in the course of two or three months at furthest. 

Quite a number of the judges of probate paid no attention to my requests. Many 
found it difficult to reach the townships. Circulars could not be addressed to town- 
ships which had no organization and no legal representatives. Notices in the county 
papers often failed, while in many counties no paper was published. And then, 
there was the inertia of ignorance, the difficulty of getting masses of uninformed people 
out of the ruts in which they had been moving for generations. 

To the people of more than one-third of the State, the township as a corporation, or 
as a body politic of any kind, was unknown. The very boundaries had faded from 
their minds and memories with the disappearance of the marks made on the forest 
trees by the surveyors who had located them. To reach these large masses of people, 
induce concerted action, was a task the difficulty of which no one had anticipated 
and which was accomplished at last by dint of hammering. * * ^ No difficulty 
occmTed in the counties whose townships had maintained their school organization. 

It was laSte in the fall before the complete returns were received and the apportion- 
ment was begun. In the absence of any specific direction of law, the distribution was 
made by giving to the townships that had nothing and adding to those that had little 
until the appropriation was exhausted, leaving those whose school revenue exceeded 
the average thus produced simply to retain what they had. 

I felt that it would have a dwarfing effect upon the system and upon the minds of 
the people to fall into the habit of employing teachers for only such time as the public 


money would last, and was anxious at the beginning to give such direction to the 
State appropriation that it would stimulate rather than suppress the spirit of self 
help in the people. The trustees were therefore advised to authorize teachers whom 
they approved to raise their own schools by subscription, the patrons being responsible 
to the teacher for the tuition, at specified rates, of the pupils subscribed, and the 
trustees engaging to use the money under their control, as far as it would go, in dis- 
charging the liability of the patron. 

This * * * had several advantages: First, it would avoid all danger of com- 
plaint that the trustees had imposed upon the people a teacher who was not acceptable; 
second, it put all of the patrons upon a method of procedure with which they were 
already familiar; third, it showed them that the State had not proposed to relieve 
them of all expense and responsibility in the education of their children, but to guide 
and assist them in the performance of a duty which they could never abdicate. 

The first of January, 1855, was fixed as the beginning of the school year; and the 
rude machinery began to move. ^ * * 

The year 1855 was spent in visiting the counties of the State and in conducting an 
extremely heavy correspondence. Questions of all shapes and sizes, growing out of 
every thinkable complication of conditions, came in a continuous stream. At first, 
some of them were very embarrassing. After a time, however, I became so saturated 
with the system, in its entirety and in its details, that my mind reached conclusions 
with ease and confidence. -^ * -^ 

In my tour through the State, I found the schools generally in operation and the 
people pleased and hopeful, especially in those counties which were most benefited 
by the system; and returned to my office feeling fully assured that the public educa- 
tional system of Alabama, though still crude and imperfect, had come to stay. 

The test of actual use showed the weakness of the law of 1854. 
Gen. Perry continues: 

The county administration was imposed upon the judges of probate, who were 
required to perform their duties without compensation. The township officers 
consisted of a board of three trustees. They were charged with duties which called for 
more than ordinary administrative power. They were to raise means for the erection 
of schoolhouses when such were needed; to divide the townships into such districts 
as the situation demanded; to select and employ teachers and supervise the schools;" 
to make settlements and submit annual reports. * -^^ * 

The weakest feature of the system was the county administration. The judges of 
probate, not without good reason, regarded the imposition of new and onerous duties 
upon them without compensation, as a great hardship; and while many of them were 
faithful and efficient, they could not give the amount of attention that was absolutely 
essential to the prompt and efficient inauguration of a united system. 

The adoption of the township as a school corporation, although under the circum- 
stances a necessity, involved great inconveniences. It complicated the duties of the 
trustees, who were generally plain, unlettered men, and led to neighborhood jealousies 
and dissensions in reference to the location of schools. 

The first aanual report of Gen. Perry, that for 1854-5, tells more 
accurately perhaps, but certainly less vividly, substantially the same 
story and is quoted here because it represents contemporaneous 
documentary evidence. 

This report shows that the people had not yet learned the impor- 
tance of making returns. Only 8 counties — Chambers, Benton, 
Randolph, Shelby, Pickens, Barbour, Limestone, and Lauderdale — 
made fairly complete reports. These reported 312 schools and 


9,658 pupils. It was said that '^ several hundred" schools had been 
established since June 30, 1855, and it was ^^ positively known that a 
large number in existence before that time were not reported." 
The total number of pupils 5-18 years of age was given as 145,588, and 
the sum available for distribution to each was $1.33 J. 
Says the superintendent: 

Each township having no sixteenth section fund accordingly received an amount 
produced by multiplying that ratio into the number of children reported by it. Those 
having from their sixteenth section fund less than that average received such sum, as, 
added to the interest of their fund, would be equal to such average, and those already 
having more, simply retained what they had. The number of townships belonging 
to the latter class is not precisely known, since some that have sixteenth section funds 
failed to report. 

There was constant trouble over the payment of salaries and in 
forwarding the necessary funds for this purpose from the super- 
intendent's office. Three months after funds were due and payable 
15 counties had not drawn them because the commissioners were 
unwilling to incur ^Hhe responsibility and personal risk of ordering 
remittances by mail, and they ha\e no other means of obtaining it." 

There was also a contention among various schools, each of which 
demanded its pro rata of the public funds ^^ instead of employing a 
single teacher at a fixed salary." In these cases the school trustees — • 

established such a number of schools as the people needed, binding themselves to 
make an equitable distribution of the money under their control among them, accord- 
ing to the attendance upon each and the length of time each was taught, leaving the 
patrons responsible to the teachers for the remainder of the tuition, at rates previously 
agreed upon. 

As a result of his visits to the schools the superintendent was 
constrained to say: 

The melancholy reflection still, however, obtrudes itself that three-fourths of the 
youth of the State have hitherto either gone without instruction entirely, or have 
been crowded into miserable apologies for schoolhouses, without comfortable seats, 
without desks or blackboards, often without the necessary textbooks, and still oftener 
without competent teachers. 

but he believed that the law was not in advance of public sentiment — 

that the people of the State, by an overwhelming majority, are favorable to the prin- 
ciple of public education, and are prepared to sustain the legislature in all judicious 
measures for giving additional efficiency to the system. 

He urged various changes in the law and declared that the — 

ultimate establishment of State normal schools for the professional training of teachers 
can not but be regarded by the enlightened friends of popular education as a consum- 
mation most devoutly to be wished. 

The scope of the course of study laid down for the public schools at 
this time by the superintendent included: 

Orthography, reading, penmanship, mental and written arithmetic, geography, 
history of the United States and outlines of universal history, English grammar and 
75075°— 15 5 


exercises in English composition, natural philosophy and astronomy, bookkeeping, 
physiology and hygiene, and the Constitution of the United States. 

It will not be understood as the object, in recommending a course of study, to lay 
down a number of branches to be pursued in an inflexible order, and in a specified 
time. That systematic arrangement aimed at in most colleges, by which a regular 
gradation of classes and a fixed order of studies pursued in a given length of time are 
maintained, can not be expected and it is believed need not be desired in the common 

Such branches have been selected as are considered essential parts of a good com- 
mon-school education — such as every American youth, should pursue in order to be 
fitted for the active duties and the high responsibilities of life. 

In some townships the amount of the public fund may justify the employment of 
teachers competent to give instruction in a more thorough and extensive course than 
that recommended ; while in others the schools will be made up almost entirely of 
pupils in the primary class. 

Elaborate treatises on natural science can not ordinarily be used; and hence, such 
have not been prescribed. The works on this subject in the catalogue of textbooks are 
simple and popular in their style, and have been selected with reference to their 
adaptedness to the great majority of those into whose hands they will be placed . ■5«- ^ * 

No apology is deemed necessary for recommending physiology and hygiene as a 
branch of common school education. It is rather a matter of astonishment that it has 
hitherto received so little attention.^ 

The pupils are classified according to studies, as follows: 

Class I. — Orthography, reading, writing, mental arithmetic, written arithmetic, 
through the fundamental rules. 

Class II. — The above continued, defining, first lessons in geography, and history. 

Exercises in definition, in some form, should be kept up throughout the wliole 
course. The pupil should never be without his dictionary at his side, and the faith- 
fulness with which it has been consulted should be tested by the teacher at each 

This remark is particularly applicable to the study of history which, properly pur- 
sued, not only strengthens the memory and stores it with facts and principles, but 
also makes daily additions of new terms to his stock of words and imparts facility 
and precision in their use. 

Class III. — Any of the above, with English grammar, composition, history, and 
simple exercises in bookkeeping. 

Class IV. — Such of the above as may not have been completed, the natural sciences, 
bookkeeping, physiology, and the constitution. 

Spelling, reading, and declamation throughout the course. 

A fifth class has been introduced into the form of trustees' reports. It was designed 
to include any of the higher English branches that may be pursued in the public 
schools by pupils under 18 years of age. 

In the above classification an endeavor has been made to conform as near as possible 
to that natural order in which the human faculties are developed in childhood. ^ 

The textbooks used included: 

Denman's Primer; Webster's Spelling Book and Sequel; Webster's Dictionary; 
Gallaudet's Illustrative Definer; McGuffey's series of Readers, revised and stereo- 
typed edition (particular attention is invited to the exercises in articulation); Tower's 
Gradual Lessons in Oral and Written Arithmetic (this work may precede Colburn's 
Mental Arithmetic and Davies's Arithmetic); Monteith's Youth's Manual of Geog- 

iForms for the use of oflacers of free public schools, etc., Montgomery, 1854, pp. 14-15. 2 ibid., pp. 16-17. 


raphy; Smith's Quarto Geography; Tower's Elements of Grammar; Tower's English 
Grammar; Hurd's Grammatical Corrector; Thomas' First Book of Etymology; Guern- 
sey's Primary History, or Parley's First Book of History; Willard's Abridged History 
of the United States; Parley's Universal History, or Willard's, which is far preferable 
when the pupil is more advanced and has the time to devote to it; Quackenbos' First 
Lessons in English Composition; Frost's Easy Exercises in Composition is also an 
excellent work for beginners; Comstock's Primary Lessons in Natural Philosophy; 
Comstock's Philosophy, the revised editions of 1853-54, greatly improved (a small 
book of questions and illustrations accompanies it); Smith's Illustrated Astronomy 
(Olmsted's School Astronomy is preferable for more advanced pupils); Mayhew's 
Practical System of Bookkeeping, with Key; Cutter's First Book of Anatomy, Physi- 
ology and Hygiene; Hart's Exposition of the Constitution of the United States; Com- 
stock's System of Elocution; Vodge's Mensuration, after arithmetic has been thor- 
oughly mastered, will be found an excellent work for those who have not time or 
opportunity to study the theoretical demonstration of mathematical principles. 

The work on English grammar in the catalogue has been selected after some hesi- 
tation. The novelty of the manner in which the subject is presented may render it 
objectionable to many. It will be found, however, to contain no radical innovation, 
its chief peculiarity consisting in its arrangement and in the prominence given to 
analysis and construction. It is recommended to the examination of teachers. Those 
who, after such examination, may still prefer to conform to established usage will 
find Wells' Elementary and School Grammars excellent works. ^ 

The books reconmiended for teachers were : 

The School and the School-Master, by Dr. Potter and G. B. Emerson; Theory and 
Practice of Teaching, by D. P. Page; The Teacher, by J. Abbott; Slate and Black- 
board Exercises, by W. A. Alcott; Popular Education, by Ira Mayhew; American 
Education, by Mansfield. Barnard's School Architecture is an excellent work for 
those who may be engaged in the erection or furnishing of schoolhouses.^ 

In his message to the legislature in November, 1855, Gov. Winston 
refers to the school law of 1854 and says: 

The results of the school bill of the last session have not been so favorable as was 
hoped for by its friends. In some parts of the State it has worked well; in others it 
has not been well received and has not been productive of good. It was not to have 
been expected, however, that a system perfectly harmonious could have been adopted 
at once. 

As a result of various criticisms, the law of February 15, 1854, was 
revised, and on February 14, 1856, another act, one ''to render more 
efhcient the system of free public schools in the State of Alabama '^ 
was passed. The new law was based on the experience gained during 
these two years. It increased the interest on the sixteenth section 
funds from 6 per cent to 8 per cent, changed the lump sum given by 
the State so that the total amount of money available for each child 
should be $1.50, and broadened slightly the sources from which the 
school income was derived. The State superintendent was required 
to make an annual report to the governor, and in place of the county 
commissioners there was to be elected a county superintendent of 
education, whose compensation was to be fixed by the county court. 

1 Forms for the use of officers of free qublic schools, etc., Montgomery, 1854, pp. 19-20. 2 ibid., p. 21. 


He was to have general superintendence of the county free schools 
and visit them at least once a year; he was ^'to note the course and 
method of instruction and branches taught'' and give ^'instruction 
in the art of teaching and the management of schools;" to see that 
no ''sectarian religious views be taught;" make ''proper distribu- 
tion" of all school funds, "paying over promptly, whenever called 
upon;" make an annual report to the State superintendent on the 
number of children, the condition of the sixteenth section lands, if 
not sold, and on the schools of all sorts in his county; suggest im- 
provements; examine "all persons who propose to teach;" "organize 
and hold annually" county conventions of teachers and provide 
beforehand for the delivery of lectures "upon topics connected with 
schools and education;" he was to seek out "indigent and merito- 
rious" young men entitled to be beneficiaries of the University of 
Alabama and encourage them "to become students thereof;" handle 
all county money for education and report on the same. 

The duties of the local trustees, the control of the school funds by 
the State superintendent, the power of local taxation, and the distri- 
bution of funds thus raised remained substantially the same as in 
the law of 1854. The payment of school moneys was simplified, for 
under the new law the State superintendent was to notify the local 
authorities of the amount due the particular county and the tax col- 
lector for the county was to pay the sum over to the county super- 
intendent. The school age was made 6 to 21, instead of 5 to 18, the 
length of the school term was fixed at six months in the law of 1854, 
and in both laws the independence of Mobile County of the State 
system, except to the extent of drawing its pro rata and reporting, 
was reaffirmed. 

Chapter VII. 

Gen. Perry, first chosen State superintendent by the assembly in 
1854, was reelected February 14, 1856, and resigned September 1, 
1858, after serving more than four and one-half years. He was suc- 
ceeded by Hon. Gabriel B. Duval, who resigned in 1864. 

From Supt. Perry's reports we learn that the ''Educational fund," 
created by the law of 1854, produced for the calendar year 1855 an 
income of $237,515.39, derived as follows: 

Interest on sixteenth-section fund $74, 687. 60 

Interest on valueless sixteenth-section fund 7, 767. 30 

Interest on Surplus Revenue fund 53, 526. 94 

State appropriation 100, 000. 00 

Special taxes on corporations, etc 1, 300. 00 

Escheats 233. 55 

Total 237, 515. 39 

The number of children of school age, 5 to 18, was reported as 
145,588. In 1856, the school population, owing perhaps to a more 
careful enumeration, as well as to an extension from 6 to 21, was 
reported as 171,093, with an enrollment of 89,160 pupils, including 
Mobile. This number represented about 52.1 per cent of the total 
school population. There were 2,281 schools and the average attend- 
ance was 38,265, or 22.4 per cent. The school term averaged six 
months, being extended to nine months in Mobile, to eight and three- 
fourths months in Russell, to eight in Chambers, Lowndes, Macon, 
and Montgomery.^ 

The impression that the schools were already doing good work is 
clearly shown by a comparison printed in the Alabama Educational 
Journal of the school enrollment in 23 given counties in 1850 and 
1856. According to the census, these counties in 1850 had in school 
27,023 pupils; in 1856 this number had risen to 51,635. 

The funds distributed by the State in 1856 were derived as follows: 

Interest on sixteenth sections and accumulated interest $90, 023. 49 

Interest on valueless sixteenth sections 7, 767. 30 

Interest on Surplus Revenue, 1836 53, 526. 94 

State appropriation 100, 000. 00 

Licenses, special taxes, etc 16, 371. 68 

Total 267, 689. 41 

1 Alabama Educational Journal, Oct., 1857. 



This sum furnished a per capita of $1.37^ and paid 57 per cent of 
the entire tuition in the public schools, the total expenditures as 
estimated by the trustees being $474,370.52.^ 

The State superintendent, in his report, called attention to the 
failure to appropriate $1.50 per child as required by law, because of 
the lack of funds, urged that a '^fixed ratio of distribution be estab- 
lished," and asserted that the present amount was '^ certainly not 
sufficient to sustain a well-developed and efficient system." Be- 
cause of the State debt, however, his demands for the schools Were 
modest. In a letter to Rev. J. H. Baker, dated July 3, 1857, he 

I do not think it would be safe at present to attempt the increase of the school fund 
beyond such an amount as will produce $1.50 or $1.60 per child. That much can 
be appropriated and still leave enough to meet the State bonds as they fall due. * * ^ 

I would also dread to see an attempt made now to establish normal schools at much 
expense to the State. Public opinion does not seem ripe for the movement, and 
a failure would not only prevent effort hereafter in that direction, but will react 
injuriously upon our system. My hope has been that the county associations of 
teachers gradually protracted into institutes may be made to supply the place of 
normal schools at present and by degrees prepare the public mind for an advance 
movement by demonstrating the utility of special preparation on the part of teachers.^ 

Gen. Perry notes that many county superintendents appointed 
under the act of 1856 found their counties in a state of educational 
chaos and that most of the year was spent in the work of organiza- 
tion, an ''unprecedented impulse" being thus given to education. 
He believed that the cardinal points toward which special effort 
should then be directed were: 

1. The construction and furnishing of schoolhouses. 

2. The qualification of teachers. 

3. The enlightenment of public opinion. 

Of the character and value of schoolhouses as they then were, we 
are left in no doubt by a writer in the first number of the Alabama 
Educational Journal, January, 1857. The article was published by 
Gen. Perry and may therefore be assumed to be with his tacit author- 
ity and sanction. This writer says: 

The increase of wealth and energy has given us comfortable and some elegant pri- 
vate residences. Large and beautiful churches have been erected. Public spirit 
has also extended to the erection of commodious jails and courthouses. * -s^ * A 
large number of the schoolhouses of our State have come under our observation and 
of this number, we truthfully say that at least nineteen-twentieths are in an un- 
finished condition — ^without chimneys or stoves, either uncoiled or unplastered, 
badly ventilated or entirely without windows, miserably furnished with benches 
and desks, with no place for water buckets or dinner buckets, and in every respect 
the most uninviting houses in the entire vicinity. The outside appearances are, if 
anything, worse — the house unpainted, the grounds unimproved, no shade trees or 
shrubbery, no pleasant playyards. 

1 See Perry's report for 1856, in Alabama Educational Journal, May and June, 1857. 
a Official letter book, 1858-1860, MS. 


Another writer said that many of the schoolhouses were old, decay- 
ing log cabins, and were devoted to schools because fit for no other 
use. He estimated that only about one-eighth of the school popula- 
tion could then be fuinished with decent school buildings. Gen. 
Perry himself said in 1857 that notwithstanding great improvement 
since 1854 — 

one-third of tlie structures in which the pupils of our public schools are congregated 
are destitute alike of every attractive feature and every element of comfort. 

Another anonymous writer contributed a series of articles on the 
"School law of Alabama" to Gen. Perry's Alabama Educational 
Journal/ which had all of the merits of frankness, and which showed 
that there was at least one person in the State who knew how to 
think for himself and to express himself in dgorous English for the 
general enlightenment of the people on this new educational system. 
He complains of the indifference of the public to educational work. 
Writing of the superintendent's report, he says, with a piquancy and 
flavor that is strongly modern: 

We do not believe that five editors in the State have read it, and we doubt if 10 
lawyers, doctors, or ministers have seen a copy of it. The apathy that hangs over our 
educational interests is perfectly surprising. While every paper in the State would 
contain, as an item of general interest, the conversion of a Hottentot or Kangaroo to 
Christianity, or would follow with doggish pertinacity the footsteps of a filibuster to 
his final doom, not one in ten, judging from their silence concerning it, recognizes the 
existence of such a document as the Annual Report of the Superintendent of Educa- 
tion, or of such an interest as it discusses. 

This writer then pays his respects to the school law itself. The 
constitution of the State declares that ^^ schools and the means of 
education shall forever be encouraged," he says, but it would seem 
to be that the present law might be combated on constitutional 
grounds, for nothing appears more plain than that by its influence 
schools and the means of education are to be forever discouraged. 

He says further: 

The school law of Alabama is very nearly allied to that of New York in one respect, 
whUe it is essentially different in another. On paper it will bear the most rigid 
inspection; indeed, it challenges the admiration of the most critical scholar. We are 
certain it was written by a man of unquestionable literary taste, but it was written 
without the slightest reference to its adaption to the State of Alabama. It provides 
for trustees, county and State superintendents, while the fund about which it talks 
and on which it was founded would scarcely pay said officers with 8 per cent interest. 
On paper, it compares well with the New York law. In its practical effects, it com- 
pares with the law of no State with which we are acquainted. 

The principal duty of the county superintendent seems to be to push up the various 
townships to an election of their trustees, by threatening to withhold the $1.25 per child 
if this provision of the law is not complied with. The business of the trustee when 
elected is to receive this little stipend and pay it over to the teacher. Year after year 

1 Beginning with December, 1858. 


is this little round of duty performed, and year after year no more good is accomplished 
thanwouldbebymakingabonfireof the money at the center of each township. * * ^ 

The county of Mobile has long since relieved itself of the sluggish movements of the 
State, and has perfected a system of its own, *■'«•* The children of this county 
have nothing of which to complain. Pupils in the primary and intermediate depart- 
ments are educated free of charge. In the grammar and high schools tuition is $2.50 
and $4 per month, respectively. Into some of these schools every child in the county 
is entitled to admission. In this respect Mobile has no rival in the State with which 
she need fear a comparison. * * * A tax of half a cent on a dollar of the property 
of the State would give every child within its limits an opportunity to secure an 
education fitting it for the duti^3s of life. 

In his fourth article, this writer says that "many persons are found ready to contro- 
vert the principle [of education] itself." He presents, also, some real difficulties. 
"The chasm between the wealthy and poorer classes is here far more impassable than 
iji the North. * ^ * Where there is no community there can be no school." 

He suggests that the amount of money needed for the sohools be 
raised by taxation; that it be expended in building suitable school- 
bouses for every 25 pupils, and that competent teachers be paid the 
equivalent of $1,000 per year; that a uniform course of study and 
uniform textbooks be adopted. 

Fortunately, we have official letters in which Gen. Perry expresses 
himself on some of the questions discussed by the anonymous writei, 
and where he gives us what we may characterize as an official view of 
the matter. As to the general interpretation of the school law, he 
writes C. O. Shepherd, at Huntsville, on January 7, 1858: ^ 

In pronouncing upon the school law as a whole, it must be borne in mind that it 
was not framed for such localities as Huntsville, but was designed to take effect over 
50,000 square miles of territory, in most of which the teachers employed were deplor- 
ably ignorant, and their schools, ex necessitate rei, of the humblest grade. 

The task assumed by the State was not only to furnish such pecuniary aid to the 
people as it might be able, but to set to work such agencies as might tend to improve 
the quality of the instruction which our youth were receiving. It was, therefore, a 
matter of primary concern, to elevate the standard of qualifications among the com- 
mon-school teachers of the State, and by degrees to get rid of those who proved hope- 
lessly incompetent. One of the means employed for this purpose was the super- 
vision and inspection of the schools by men selected for the purpose. * * * The 
law, however, does not give them the right to prescribe textbooks or to control 
the internal management of the schools. * * ^ As a further means of improving 
the character of the common-school instruction, it is the policy of the law to maintain 
a well-defined line of distinction between pubUc schools and those which are not. It 
has expressly provided that no school shall participate in the school [fund] set apart 
for educational purposes "unless such school shall be instructed by a teacher or 
teachers duly examined, approved, and employed by competent and lawful authority 
as hereinbefore provided." 

The main object of this was to prevent worthless teachers from getting up little 
schools in pine-pole pens throughout the country and having the public fund frittered 
away upon them. 

A year later his successor points out the particular classes for 
whom the public schools were primarily organized and the necessity 

1 Official letter book, 1858-1860, MS. 


of reaching them. In a letter to J. B. Speake, February 4, 1859, he 

says : ^ 

The greatest difficulty in its [the school's] way now is the ignorance of the law or 
a disregard for its provisions manifested by the trustees. No child of the educa- 
tional age can be excluded from a public school whether the school be taught by a 
lady or not. If such a proceeding were allowed, it might and most probably would 
result in the admission only of such pupils as were able to pay a tuition fee in addition 
to the amount arising from the educational fund and would exclude the children of 
the poor who are unable to pay and for whose benefit principally the fund was estab- 
lished. Such a construction would bring the law into merited disfavor and defeat 
its object, which is to extend upon equal terms to all the children of our State the 
inestimable blessing of liberal instruction. 

These discussions, these strictures, had their influence in awaken- 
ing the people to a keener reali2;ation of the importance of schools. 
There were signs of growing recognition. The mcome from public 
funds was: 1855, $237,515.39; 1856, $267,689.41; 1857, $281,824.41; 
1858, $271,378.97. 

These figures indicate that the system was growing in importance 
and general usefulness, but it had not yet passed the age when it was 
free from attack. In the assembly of 1857-58 the attack was made 
by no less an authority than Gov. John A. Winston himself, who in 
his message for that year suggested that — 

the expense of a county superintendent might be avoided by constituting the probate 
judge and the county commissioner in the several counties as a body to act in place 
of that officer. The appropriation should be applied more on the principle of equity 
amongst the scholars throughout the State. Severe scrutiny should be exercised in 
regard to the use of unsound textbooks; * * * unfortunately, as yet, our school 
books and teachers are imported. * * * By a prohibition of all books incul- 
cating improper sentiments to be taught in the South, we may soon insure the pos- 
session of textbooks the work of our citizens. 

Surely Gov. Winston had not read the recent history of his own 
State, since what was substantially this identical scheme had been 
abandoned only two years before. 

There were also other lines of attack on the county superintendent, 
and for other reasons. On January 21, 1858, the minority of the 
senate committee on education filed a protest in which they denounced 
the county superintendent and declared that : 

No officer with such arbitrary power should be placed over a free people to dictate 
to them or their school trustees in the matter of educating their own children. 

They urged that, if this county superintendent should remove or 
refuse to license "such teachers as the trustees should select,'' his 
office should be abolished. 

In reply to all of these attacks Gen. Perry points out the necessity 
for the position and the impossibility of getting the work done by 
the judges of probate as the law of 1854 attempted. He shows also 

1 Official letter book, 1858-1860, MS. 


that quite as much money would be misspent for lack of supervision 
as this office would cost, and that this had been the actual experience 
in Louisiana. He then adds : 

It is the deliberate conviction of one who has watched the progress of this move- 
ment with sleepless vigilance and solicitude, and who will not now, it is hoped, be 
suspected of having any personal ends to accomplish by the assertion that the system 
could not have survived until the present time under an administration provided 
for it by the law of 1854. 

Perhaps the weight of the superintendent's report for 1857 was 
directed to the defense of the county superintendents, for that office, 
created by the act of 1856, became at once ''a favorite point of 
assault by those who were unfriendly to any State system," and in 
that connection the hoary argument of economy had met heavy 
drafts at the hands of the conservatives. But another phase of the 
law was not far behind in the severity of the criticisms which it 
received. This was the apportionment of the school funds. 

The senate protest of January 21, 1858, demanded first of all that 
the method of apportioning the school funds should be changed. 
They demanded that the interest on the sixteenth section certificates 
be increased from 6 per cent to 8 per cent,^ and, although these 
certificates represented no real value, they insisted that this interest, 
raised by a general tax on all the counties, should be paid first of 
all out of the public taxes, and that after this was paid the remaining 
sum available for educational purposes should be distributed to all 
the counties ^'according to the number of children within the edu- 
cational age within each county in the State." To justify this 
method of distribution, they claimed from court decisions that the 
sixteenth section funds were a perpetuity granted to them by the 
Federal Congress of which they could not be divested by law and 
that the State law, as it then stood, substantially making the counties 
without sixteenth section funds equal with those that had such 
funds, was unconstitutional in that it granted certain counties 
' ' exclusive privileges . " 

It is the old story of the rich coimty disliking to aid the educational 
work of the poor county. In their protest a table is given where it is 
shown that while 15 of the poorer counties paid $51,983.92 in taxes 
and received $7,598.51 from sixteenth-section funds, they also received 
in 1856, for education in addition to the above, $61,281.47 from the 
State. On the other hand, while 15 of the wealthier counties paid 
the same year $394,762.74 in taxes and received $52,177.27 from 
sixteenth-section funds, they were allowed from the general State 

1 Note this demand. Art 1, sec. 3, of the act of Feb. 14, 1856, provides: "The annual, interest at 8 per 
cent on the fund which has accrued or may hereafter accrue from the sale of the sixteenth sections of the 
several townships of this State," yet it is evident that the sixteenth-section fund, during the following 
years, drew only 6 per cent. 


tax only $45,112.18 in addition for schools.^ But it may be answered 
that, according to the census of 1850, these 15 wealthier counties had 
61,111 children from 5 to 20 years of age, and hence, assuming this 
as substantially the school population in 1856,^ they received $1.59 
for each child. The 15 poorer counties in 1850 had 46,153 children 
from 5 to 20 years of age, and so received, on the same basis, only 
$1.49 per child. 

Supt. Perry devotes a large part of his report for 1857 to an answer 
of this protest. The apportionment of school funds as then pro- 
vided by law was an effort to equalize the amount distributed so as 
to extend the benefit as nearly as might be to the State as a whole. 
The '^violent attack at the last session of the legislature" on this 
principle was made in the interest of the wealthier counties, and made 
notwithstanding the fact that the income of the sixteenth-section 
fund was derived from State taxation and not from invested funds; 
the sixteenth-section fund itself, as it then existed, '^ originated with 
a great wrong to more than two-thirds of the people of the State." 
The superintendent then shows that the conditions under which the 
sixteenth sections and other school lands were granted the State 
were such as to render this so-called '^magnificent donation" of 
public lands — 

in reality a pui-chase, a purchase for which a valuable consideration was paid, and 
paid, too, by the whole people of the whole State. The direction which the benefits 
of this purchase took, under the terms of the compact, constitutes the wrong alluded 
to. It was a wrong because a departure from that rigid impartiality which should 
characterize all the acts of government, even in dispensing gratuitous favors. It was 
a wrong, because it secured to a few of the least needy, advantages gained by the 
sacrifices of all. It was a wrong, too, to which the State was a party, and for which 
it is in a large degree responsible, because, as one of the contracting powers, it could 
easily have had it otherwise, as is abundantly shown in the admissions into the Union 
of recent States * * *. 

From obvious causes, it happens that, with perhaps one prominent exception, the 
heaviest taxpaying counties have the largest sixteenth-section funds. This fact is 
seized upon to sustain the views which are here combated ; and the counties which may 
be regarded as extremes in point of wealth have been arranged in parallel columns, 
with the amounts received for school purposes and paid as taxes by each annexed 
* * *. The only legitimate conclusion to be drawn from it is that the various 
amounts which different localities contribute to the support of the government ought 
to regulate in some way the relative benefits which government dispenses in return. 

The fight against the method of equalization adopted by the 
legislature of 1854 was waged for years, but unsuccessfully. That 
law itself was a compromise and was hardly less agreeable to the 
conservatives than to the radicals. The anonymous critic of the 
school law even asserts that ^ so long as the sixteenth section remained 

1 See protest in Senate Journal, 1858-59, pp. 235-243. 

2 Census of 1850 gives total number of children, 5-20, as 176,659; school census of 1856 gives total number, 
fr-21, as 171,093. 

3 Alabama Educ. Jour., 1858. 


the property of the district it would be impossible to equalize to all 
the townships the money to be devoted to public education; he argued 
that conditions were such that equality could never be attained 
until these sixteenth-section funds were consolidated with the other 
funds and asks: 

Can not our good parent, Congress, be induced to take back its unfortunate gift 
and rebestow it in such a manner as not to cripple every effort made to advance the 
interests it was designed to promote? 

In his report for 1857 the superintendent pointed out another 
weakness of the system, that under which the county school money 
was paid out by the county tax collector. He said : 

A majority of those officers do not make their collections in time to cash promptly 
the orders issued upon them from this oflBce in favor of the county superintendents. 

The result was that in some cases no school officer could teU how 
much a particular school district would receive or when that amount 
would be paid. The teachers were the ones who, in the last analysis, 
bore the brunt of this burden of uncertainty. Their salaries were 
nearly always in arrears, and they had only the poor choice of dis- 
counting their vouchers or waiting for months for the salaries due. 
x4.nd worse still, if the school funds were insufficient to pay the salaries 
earned, or if, through the carelessness and neglect of local trustees, 
funds were withheld altogether, as the law directed, the trustees went 
free and the teachers had no redress. The whole system was crying 
out for an equalization of tax burdens as well as of advantages, for 
a definite knowledge of the sums to be distributed per capita of 
school population, for greater promptness in payment, and for better 
informed and more earnest county and district officers. 

The question of the improvement of teachers had been taken up by 
Gen. Perry and urged on county superintendents, local trustees, and 
on teachers themselves. The Alabama Educational Association was 
organized in 1856, and had severa,l successful meetings. Local or 
county associations were beginning to make their influence felt and 
to give ^^ cheering assurance of much future good." Their proceed- 
ings and addresses were published, created some discussion, and 
opened the way for the consideration of teachers' institutes, normal 
schools, public libraries, etc. Growing interest was indicated and 
promoted also by the publication of the Alabama Educational Journal, 
begun at Montgomery by Gen. Perry January 1, 1857. It led a 
precarious existence to the end of 1859, being once suspended and 
once changed in form. It died before the pressure of war was upon 
it, but not before it had been of service in broadening the horizon of 
the men who were fighting against the powers of darkness. Questions 
of sectional politics were not entirely absent in these educational 
considerations. We find them cropping out on the subject of text- 


books, and it was perhaps with Gov. Winston's attitude on the matter 
in mind that Gen. Perry writes Hon. B. F. Porter, September, 29,1857: 

I believe that a good opportunity now exists for some one to make largely by the 
publication of a series of works of that description. They must be, however, fully 
equal, if not superior, to any extant. They must be afforded, too, on as favorable terms 
as any now on the market. Sectional prejudices are not strong enough to secure for 
a work gotten up here favor or patronage over northern ones superior in quality or 
cheaper in price. Caeteris paribus, it will have greatly the advantage, the complaints 
of some southern authors to the contrary notwithstanding. I * * * do hope that 
some plan may be devised for supplying Alabama and the South with indigenous works 
that shall meet the wants of our schools.^ 

Hon. Gabriel B. Duval became the second State superintendent on 
September 1, 1858. He completed and pubhshed the report for the 
year ending November 30, 1858, dated October, 1859, and we have 
no others till the days of reconstruction. In 1858 the school popula- 
tion was reported at 180,160, with an enrollment of 98,274, or 54.5 
per cent, and an average attendance of 42,274, or 23.4 per cent, in 
2,597 schools. The total expenditure for 1858 was given at 
$564,210.46, which would indicate that $292,831.49 was received by 
tuition and from other private sources. 

Mr. Duval continued the work of organization begun by his prede- 
cessor. Besides phases already noticed, he points out that under the 
new State system private academies were decreasing in members 
and in attendance, and marks these things as indications of a change 
of sentiment in the State more favorable to the public system. 

He says: 

Indifference has not been felt toward education itself, but to governmental aid 
in procuring it. The happy condition of our social relations, and the general diffusion 
of wealth, has rendered it comparatively unnecessary; wherever it was needed, pri- 
vate generosity generally anticipated public aid. 

He says further: 

This indifference has had another cause in an objection, rising almost to repug- 
nance, to what was improperly supposed to be State interference with personal 
duties and rights, a fear of the absorption of the individual in the body politic, 
and of his subjection to the State. 

1 Official Letter Book, 1858-1860, MS. As early as January, 1844, the Southern Educational Journal 
advertises a series of Alabama readers prepared by Charles W. Sanders: "The attention of teachers and 
parents is invited to the following series of readers. Complaints have long been heard of the reading books 
of the North, made by people whose political institutions differ from ours, and thrown upon the children 
of the South, for their indiscriminating minds to peruse. The books forming this series have been care- 
fully revised and freed from all objectionable pieces." The list of other school books offered in the same 
connection and apparently used in the schools of the State, public and private, include: 

The Child's Reader and the Rhetorical Speaker, by T. D. P. Stone; Rhetorical Reader, by Ebenezer 
Porter; Webster's Spelling Book and Dictionary; Olney's Geography; Watts's Improvement of the Mind; 
Bullions' English Grammar; Comstock's Natural Philosophy, Chemistry, Mineralogy, Physiology; Olm- 
sted's Natural Philosophy; Worcester's Dictionary; Abercrombie's Moral Feelings; Combe on Health; 
Goodrich's Ecclesiastical History; Lincoln's Botany; Burrett's Geography of the Heavens; Alexander's 
Evidences; Willard's Histories; Hedge's Logic; Newman's Rhetoric and Political Economy; Kames's 
Criticism; Davies's mathematical books; Anthon's series of Latin and Greek books; Andrews' Latin 
books; Bullions' Greek Grammar; Levizac's French Grammar, etc. 


This process of reasoning applied not only to Alabama, but to the 
whole South and explains to a great extent the slow growth of the 
public systems of education in that section. 

It is evident that educational progress was being made in Ala- 
bama under the administration of Mr. Duval, but in the legislature 
of 1858-59 old foes with new faces again attacked the system. 
They now sought to abolish the office of State superintendent and 
give his duties to the comptroller; to abolish the county superintend- 
ents also and give their duties to the county treasurer — all in the 
name of economy. Gov. Winston was now nearing the term of his 
office, but in two years he had seen a great light. He now argues 
that the duties of the comptroller were already heavy; that school 
matters would require for him an additional clerk; so little would be 
saved. In the same way, if the county superintendents were re- 
placed by county treasurers they would demand more pay and so 
''little or nothing could be saved in that way." He then adds: 

It occurs to me, that those who contemplate making this change have not maturely 
considered the subject. The education of the children of the State is one of the most 
sacred duties of parents and the Government. The constitution declares ' ' that schools 
and the means of education shall forever be encouraged in this State,' ■ * ^ ^ Any 
policy calculated to cripple or retard its progress should be avoided.^ 

Such material as we have for the period 1858-1860 shows that there 
was a slow but steady growth; counties were better organized; 
schools were^ estabhshed and it would appear that the public funds 
were expended in the way least likely to emphasize the pauper school 
idea. The trustees went on the assumption that public funds 
should supplement private endeavor, and so successful was the 
scheme that we find, in 1858, an average school term of 6.125 months, 
while in some townships, as in Pickens County, the sixteenth section 
funds were sufiicient to keep the schools open aU the year. 

No figures from the ofiice of Supt. Duval are available after those 
of 1858, but their place may be supplied in part by those of the 
Federal Census for 1860: 

Number of schools 1, 903 

Number of teachers 2, 038 

Number of pupils 61, 751 

Amount derived from — 

Taxation |63, 845 

Public funds 199, 318 

Other sources 226, 311 

Total income 489, 474 

1 See his message of Nov. 14, 1859, pp. 9-10 (copy in Curry Collection, not in H. and S. Jour, of 1858-59). 
These are substantially the identical words used by Gov. A. B. Moore in his message to the same legis- 
lature on Dec. 16. 1859. In S. and H. Jour, of that date. 


There was reported in the same census 206 ''academies and other 
schools/' with 400 teachers and 10,778 pupils. These schools received — 

From endowment 137, 800 

From "public funds" 23, 547 

From other sources 160, 287 

Total income 221, 634 

The same census reports a total school attendance for the year 
ending June 1, 1860, of 98,204, including 114 free colored, and that 
$6,256 was collected in the State for schools. 

Measuring the general intelligence by the circulation of the news- 
paper press it will be found that according to the census of 1860 it 
consisted of 9 daily, 1 biweekly, 6 triweekly, 77 weekly, and 3 
monthly journals, with a total annual circulation of 7,175,444 copies. 
The white population of the State in 1860 was 526,431, which would 
indicate an average of 13.6 copies per white inhabitant, but since 
the number of outside papers coming into the State was no doubt 
much larger than those which went out, the true number of copies 
per inhabitant was considerably larger. 

Supt. Duval's report for 1858 was the last printed till after the close 
of the Civil War, and the source material for the period is scanty 
enough, for those days of excitement told heavily on the quiet routine 
of educational work. Supt. Duval signed the official correspondence 
for April 9, 1861; then there is a break till May 20, when his chief 
clerk, W. C. Allen, signs as acting superintendent. Mr. Duval had 
gone to the front as captain of a company of volunteers. But even 
the clang of arms did not entirely hush the hum of educational activ- 
ity. In August Mr. Allen said that Gov. Moore would recommend 
the withdrawal (in the future) of the State educational appropriation 
till the end of the war, but that there would be no other change for that 
year unless he should be able to declare a per capita school dividend of 
$1.35 or $1.40 instead of the $1.30 declared ^'for the last two or three 
years." In 1861-62 the dividend was $1.20 per capita; m 1862-63 
it was $1.10. In 1860 and 1861 the auditor's report shows that the 
total school expenditures were $567,740, or $283,870 per year; in 
1862 it was $231,774; 1863, $268,731; 1864, $233,978; 1865, $112,783. 

These sums do not include $17,700 spent in 1860-61 and $10,718.75 
spent in 1861-62 on the military training of ''State cadets." These 
expenditures were incurred under the act of February 21, 1860, which 
provided ''for the mihtary education of two young men from each 
county." They were to attend the Mihtary School at GlenviUe, in 
Barbour County, or that at La Grange, in Frankhn County, to both of 
which the State had furnished arms. They were to receive for their 
support $250 a year, and for their part agreed to return to their own 
county "and there teach and drill the mihtia" for the same length of 
time as they had received State support in school. 


There was in Alabama, of course, as everywhere, trouble over the 
f allmg value of Confederate notes, and much correspondence with local 
officers on the subject. Capt. Duval was again in his office March 
14, 1864, but sterner mihtary duties called him elsewhere, and W. C. 
Allen served as superintendent for the remainder of that year, being 
succeeded in office January 1, 1865, by Johii B. Taylor. 

The correspondence of the superintendent during the war period 
is small in amount, broken and fragmentary in character, but suffi- 
cient to show that the schools did not lose their general organization. 
As has been shown from official sources, funds were distributed each 
year, reports were called for and schools were still being taught 
throughout the State as late as March, 1865. 

Fortunately for the student of the educational history of Alabama, 
the official letter book of the superintendent for the whole of the 
war period (June 1, 1860, to April 25, 1865) has been preserved and 
has been made available for this study by the courtesy of Thomas M. 
Owen, LL. D., director of the Alabama State department of archives 
and history. It seems well to close this chapter with the transcrip- 
tion of four letters written in March, 1865, by Supt. Taylor that tell 
far more dramatically than mere narrative the difficulties and trials 
of the last days : 

March 1st, 1865. 
To His Excellency, 

Gov. Thomas H. Watts: 

The revised school law of the State requires of the State superintendent of educa- 
tion annually on the 1st of March, a report to the governor, embracing — 
First, A brief history of his labors. 
Second, An abstract of the reports received by him from the county superintendents, 

exhibiting the condition of the public schools. 
Third, Estimates and accounts of expenditures of school moneys. 
Fourth, Plans for the improvement of the school funds and the better organization of 

the public schools. 
Fifth, All such other matters relating to his office and to the public schools as he 

shall deem fit to communicate, etc. 

At the time of my election to the office of State superintendent, my predecessor, 
Hon. W. C. Allen, had nearly completed the calculations for the distribution of the 
funds for 1864, and deeming it unwise and impolitic to take possession of the office 
until that was completed and the quarter expired, I did not file my bond and enter 
upon the duties until the 1st day of January, 1865. Consequently, the history of my 
labors would be very brief and unsatisfactory. Under this head I have nothing to 
report except an official visit to the County of Coosa, where I had the pleasure of 
meeting in county convention the superintendents and several of the teachers and 
trustees of that county, and to initiate an undertaking which I hope will result in 
furnishing our public schools with abridged textbooks to supply a want now severely 
felt by parents and teachers. 

The reports of the condition of the public schools for the year 1864 have been 
received from only 15 counties, leaving 37 counties unreported. Many causes have 
occurred to prevent their reception. Many teachers have been called into the military 
service and made no reports to the county superintendents; others have neglected 
their duties; in some instances I am informed of changes in the office of county super- 
intendent during the month of January, and in others, I am assured that the reports 


have been mailed and failed to reach this office. All the county superintendents, 
not within the enemy's lines, have been informed by letter of this default, and dupli- 
cate or original reports may be expected. Without the missing reports it is impossible 
to approximate the conditions of the public schools within the State. 

And as plans for the improvement of the school funds and the better organization 
of the public schools are expected to be submitted in the report of the State superin- 
tendent and must be based upon the reports received from the county superintendents, 
and as this report is intended to furnish information to superintendents and trustees 
and the authorities of other States of the actual working of our State system of educa- 
tion, and as under the circumstances named it must necessarily be imperfect and 
unsatisfactory, I therefore submit this as a partial report and respectfully ask your 
Excellency's permission to complete the same at some future period before the session 
of the general assembly, when with more reliable and fuller data, more satisfactory 
information can be given and the suggestions contemplated by the law can be made 
upon a reliable basis. 

I would beg leave further to state to your Excellency that the reports made by my 
predecessors bear date of the month of October, ever since the passage of the act of 

Very respectfully, your obdt. servt. 

Jno. B. Taylor. 

March 11th, 1865. 
W. H. Huston, Esq., 

Co. Sup't, Dallas Co., Selma, Ala. 

Dear Sir: I am much gratified to learn from your letter of the 8th inst. that the 
absorbing and engrossing interest of the times and the perilous condition of the country 
have not retarded the educational interests of the populous and wealthy county 
which you represent, and that parents evince an ''enthusiastic interest in the edu- 
cation of their children." Of a truth "Garpe diem" should be the motto of our 
people at this time, for "we know not what a day may bring forth," nor how soon 
present advantages may pass away before the invasion of a ruthless foe, or how even 
their sons may be called away from the pursuits of learning to the more immediate 
and pressing necessity of defense. 

I trust that the wisdom of Congress may adopt some plan whereby disabled soldiers 
and officers, unfit for duty in the field, may be retired, and thus competent instruc- 
tors from among the educated take their places as instructors of the rising generation. 
An accomplished officer, formerly a teacher, and now himself maimed and unable to 
resume his command, informed me that there are many such now spending their time 
in idleness or assigned to duties for which they are incompetent. He also stated 
that he had mentioned the matter to Members of Congress and that he hoped they 
would take such action as would lead to beneficial results. Let us then wait in hope. 

I am pleased with your plan for procuring schoolbooks and trust you will meet 
with eminent success. It should certainly be adopted in every county when prac- 
ticable, and has been acted upon to some extent by the booksellers of this city. 

Prof. B. T. Smith, of Central Institute, is now engaged upon an abridged arith- 
metic for the use of public schools and has completed the work as far as division. 
When that is completed I shall request him to publish, if a publisher can be obtained, 
leaving the remainder for a future edition. This part will answer for primary classes 
and will supply a present want. If encouraged in this undertaking, the professor 
will enter upon abridgments of other schoolbooks. * * * 

You will oblige me by giving me notice of the time and place of holding your 
county convention. It is my desire to visit as many as the limited time at my com- 
mand will permit. 

Very respectfully, yours, 

Jno. B. Taylor, 

State Suvt. 
75075°— 15 6 


March 14th, 1865. 
To His Excellency, Thomas H. Watts, 

Governor of Alabama. 

Governor: I have the honor to call your attention to the inclosed copy of a letter 
from Col. Jefferson Falkner requesting the discharge of Harman R. Gay, corporal in 
Company K, 46th Ala. Vol. Regiment, in consequence of his election as county super- 
intendent of education for Randolph County. 

Mr. Gay was duly elected in May, 1864, and gave bond, which is on file in this office, 
as required by law. I understand your excellency to recognize to the fullest extent 
the right of the citizens of the State in the election of their officers, and yet if the 
officer of their choice is detained in the military service, the exercise of that right is of 
no avail and of no practical utility. 

The authorities of the Confederate Government do not pretend even to claim 
military service from State officers not enrolled at the time of election and their 
exemption from such service is provided for by law. 

The reason for this exemption, founded in the principle of State sovereignty, and the 
unqualified and unrestricted right of the people to the choice of their officers, applies, 
to my mind, with equal force in those cases where parties are, at the time of election, 
held in the military service of the common government. 

But if doubt exists upon that point, comity and courtesy as between the Confederate 
and State Governments would require that the expressed will of the people should be 
respected and that they should be allowed the services of the officer of their choice in 
any capacity in which they may elect; and this without regard to the rank of the 
office or distinction of station. That this has been the view of the Legislature of 
Alabama is apparent from the fact that there is no provision of law whereby an office 
may be declared vacant by reason of the incumbent being in the military service of 
the State or of the Confederate States, though it may be for several other reasons. 

The office of superintendent of education for the several counties in this State 
can not be discharged by deputy; and while the payments of the school fund to the 
trustees may be made by a clerk, the receipts of money from tax collectors and the 
State treasury, examination of teachers, granting of licenses, annual visitation of 
schools, and decision of questions arising under the school laws must be done and 
made by the superintendent in person, and can not be delegated by him to others; 
nor does the law make any provision for the discharge of those duties by another while 
the incumbent is in military service. 

I would, therefore, respectfully request that your excellency would refer this case 
to the Hon. Secretary of War and ask the discharge of Corp. Gay from the military 
service, that he may enter upon the duties of his office. To judge by the returns now 
being made to this office and the information received from various parts of the State, 
the children of our gallant soldiers are not to any large extent enjoying the benefits of 
the provisions made by the State for their education by reason of irregularities, such 
as is seen in the present case, and which can only be corrected by a vigorous applica- 
tion of means at command, and the evil of an ignorant generation succeeding this 
arrested. A prudent government will seek its defense and safeguard in the hearts 
of an intelligent people. 

I am, very respectfully, your obdt. srvt., 

Jno. B. Taylor, 

State Supt. 

March 22nd, 1865. 
To His Excellency Thomas H. Watts, 

Governor of Alabama. 
Governor: I have the honor to inclose a communication from Hon. James F. 
Bailey, judge of probate of Perry County, requesting my attention to condition of the 
public schools in that county in consequence of the detention in the Confederate 


States military service of M. M. Cooke, county superintendent of Perry County, 
and asking that steps be taken to procure his discharge. 

Mr. Cooke is 1st sergt., Co. G, 4th Ala. Vol. Regt., and was elected county superin- 
tendent in May, 1864, and gave bond and duly qualified for the performance of his 
office, but though, as I am informed, two applications have been made for his dis- 
charge, he is still retained in service to the detriment of the educational interests of 
his county. 

On the 14th instant I had the honor to address your excellency a cimilar application 
in respect to Corp. Harmen R. Gay, Co. K, 46th Ala. Begt., elected and qualified 
as county superintendent of Randolph County, and herewith I forward a copy of your 
excellency's indorsement upon that letter, satisfied that your views, being fully 
matured, have undergone no change, and that the same principle therein asserted 
by your excellency fully applies to the present case. 

I am also informed in the case of Mr. Cooke that he has been wounded in the leg 
and in consequence of that wound is partially, if not wholly, unfit for field service. 

The educational interests of Perry County are suffering from the absence of the 
superintendent, and if the condition of that and Randolph County should become 
general tliroughout the State, our educational system must be abandoned and the 
children of our soldiers grow up in ignorance. 

I respectfully request that your excellency will use your official influence with the 
Hon. Secretary of War to procure the discharge of Sergt. Cooke, that he'may enter upon 
the duties of his office. 

Very respectfully, your obdt. servt. 

Jno. B. Taylor, 
State Supt. of Education. 

The remainder of this war history and the fortunes of the pubUc 
educational records themselves may be gathered from the Hon. 
John B. Eyan, State superintendent in 1866-67, in his report dated 
April 1, 1866: 

There has been no annual report made from this office since October, 1859,^ yet our 
system of public schools was kept up till the appointment of the provisional governor 
in July, 1865, although amidst embarrassments incident to a state of fierce warfare. 
The records, books, papers, etc., of this office were carted about the country in boxes, 
to keep them from the hands of spoilers, during the most of the time after 1863. Their 
preservation is chiefly if not alone due to the vigilance, zeal, and activity of my 
worthy predecessor, the Hon. J. B. Taylor, to whom the friends of education in Ala- 
bama should ever feel grateful. ^ 

1 This was Duval's report for 1858. 

2 Report for 1865 quoted in Owen's Bibliography of Alabama. 

Chapter VIII. 


The war came to an end in May, 1865. The reconstruction govern- 
ment in Alabama was inaugurated July 13, 1868. This interme- 
diate period of three years — a period not of the old nor yet of the 
new — is largely barren of educational results, although demanding 
some consideration from the historian of education. A convention 
sitting in Montgomery adopted on September 12, 1865, a new con- 
stitution. This convention was made up of Confederates and other 
native sons, and their work was not submitted to the people. There 
is no mention of education in this constitution, nor are there com- 
plete printed reports from the State superiatendents for the period. 
Information on the subj ect comes mainly from later superintendents. 
As has been seen, John B. Taylor became superintendent on January 
1, 1865, and served in that capacity until about April 1, 1866. He 
was succeeded by John B. Kyan, who served till November 30, 1867. 
Then came M. A. Chishohn with service from December 1, 1867, to 
July 23, 1868, when reconstruction began. 

Of the period represented by the school years 1865-66, 1866-67, 
and 1867-68 (June 30), Dr. Cloud, in his first annual report dated 
November 10, 1869, says: 

I found that the previous government under the administration of Gov. Patton 
failed to pay the public-school money apportioned for the school year 1866 to quite 
a number of the counties of this State. It also failed to pay the public-school money 
apportioned for the school year of 1867 to a much larger number of the counties. 
Some of the county superintendents received the public-school moneys thus appor- 
tioned for the years 1866 and 1867, either in part or in whole, as our books show; but 
others received none whatever notwithstanding public schools were taught. There 
seems to be no satisfactory reason to be had from any som-ce explaining why it was 
that some of the counties received their apportionment of these public-school funds, 
while others did not obtain any portion thereof. 

The superintendent -^ ^ "^ takes the position that the apportionment of the 
public-school fund for the years 1866 and 1867 was appropriately made Under exist- 
ing laws of the State, and that the State is bound in all good faith to her citizens to 
make good this apportionment of the public-school fund to the counties that have 
up to this time failed to receive it or so much thereof as may be necessary to pay 
the school service rendered in such counties for the school years of 1868 and 1869. 


So much for Dr. Cloud's review. Now, what were the original 
appropriations for these years, how much of these sums were used 
by Gov. Patton 'Ho meet other pressing debts of the State/' how 
much did the reconstructionists appropriate to cover these defi- 
ciencies, how did they order this money to be used, and what actually 
became of it ? 

The total apportionment for 1866 was $413,389.07, of which 
$362,223.60 was drawn and $51,625.09 undrawn. In 1867 the 
figures were $290,250.12 apportioned, $133,195.83 drawn, and $157,- 
054.29 undra^vn. The sum apportioned for schools December 1, 
1867, to July 1, 1868, was $45,411.46. On November 10, 1869, 
there was still impaid out of these three appropriations $254,090.84. 
On October 10, 1868, the reconstruction legislature provided $45,- 
411.46 to meet— 

the claims of teachers arising between December 1, 1867, and June 30, 1868, * * * 
which it was doubtless believed at the time the bill was introduced would cover all 
just and legal claims embraced within the period.^ 

February 23, 1870, it passed another act — 

appropriating the sum of |208,679.38 to cover the several amounts due and unpaid 
to those' counties whose school moneys had been used by Gov. Patton to meet other 
pressing debts of the State. 

The act provided that this money should be disbursed ^^ in accordance 
with the law under which the said amounts were apportioned at 
the time of apportionment," and then adds that the provisions of this 
act should '^be so construed as to include all teachers who have 
taught a free pubhc school and have claims against the State without 
distinction on accoimt of race or color." ^ 

Supt. Cloud had already decided oflS.ciaUy (June 26, 1869) that 
under the law negroes were entitled to their share of the sixteenth- 
section fund,^ and the purpose of this particular act to admit the 
teachers of negro schools to a participation in the fund about to be 
distributed is manifest. Says Supt. Joseph Hodgson (Conservative), 
in his report dated January 28, 1871 : 

■ This sum of 1208,679.38 * * ^ was apportioned among the counties by the late 
superintendent (Dr. Cloud) according to the amounts certified to be due. * * * 
In what manner this money has been disbursed by the county superintendents 
the present State superintendent is not fully informed. * ^ •^- It will be 
observed that the act making the appropriation fixes a proviso to it, a proviso 
which is doubtful, because the fund was justly due to those teachers alone who 
were employed under the then-existing school laws. The proviso read thus: ''That 
the provisions of the foregoing act shall be so construed as to include all teachers who 
have taught a free public school and have claims against the State, without distinc- 
tion on account of race or color." The purpose of this proviso must be transparent. 
There were no colored teachers of State schools before July, 1868, and no colored 

1 See acts of Oct. 10, 1868, Laws of 1868, p. 255; and act of Feb. 23, 1870, Laws of 1869-70, p. 168. 

2 See acts of 1869-70, p. 169. 

3 See official letter book under that date. 


pupils except such as were recognized by the military commander between January 
and July, 1868; yet, as will presently be seen, an opportunity has been given for the 
misappropriation of this entire fund. 

In discussing the payment of these past-due claims, including 
those for teaching December 1, 1867, to July 1, 1868, Supt. Hodgson 
says further : 

The superintendent can only say that under his predecessor the above-mentioned 
sum of $45,411.46 was distributed to the several county superintendents without 
reference to the amount of unpaid claims held in any given county, but in proportion 
to an enumeration of white and colored children made in 1869. It is with reluctance 
that he has been driven to the conclusion that the acquisition and distribution of this 
sum of $45,411.46 and the larger sum appropriated for the years 1866 and 1867 
[$208,679.38] is the result of a deliberate scheme to divert the public-school funds of 
the years 1866, 1867, and 1868 from their legitimate use and for the benefit of private 
schools which were established and conducted for private gain or for the promotion 
of political and sectarian ends. 

Supt. Hodgson bases this conclusion on a certain enactment of 
the State board of education, the intention of which — 

was evidently to give a color of authority to the newly appointed county superintend- 
ents for the disbursement of public money to private schools of a certain character. 
Under cover of this act large sums of money which had been turned over by township 
trustees to the new county superintendents, as also the several appropriations referred 
to, were squandered upon teachers of private schools who were in no wise connected 
with the public-school system, and who had already received pay from their patrons 
for their services. 

Specific instances are given by the superintendent: The county 
superintendent of Montgomery County paid himself $1,692.60 for 
teaching a private school, and his account was allowed; and there was 
paid to a colored institution in Mobile at one time the sum of $5,327 
and at another $5,425, although it was under the support and control 
of a missionary society and its teachers had already been paid by 
that society. Up to the date of this report there had been paid 
out of this $45,411.46 only $9,019.02 of legitimate claims. 

Supt. Hodgson failed to secure any further information on the 
subject, and adds: 

It is probable that the great bulk of that fund has not been and will not be applied 
to the object for which the general assembly appropriated it. Such is one of the evil 
results of having two legislatures over this department. The disbursing legislature 
runs counter to the spirit of the appropriating legislature, and the State superintendent 
remains powerless to provide a remedy for transparent abuses.^ 

The protest of the superintendent was in vain, for so far as available 
sources show there was no further investigation of these arrears nor 
of the way they were expended. According to his report on Novem- 
ber 15, 1871, of these special appropriations $114,782.88 was still 
to be accounted for. 

1 This refers to the new board of education, considered later. 



The constitution of 1868 was adopted by a convention which, sat 
in Montgomery November 5 to December 6, 1867. This is the 
reconstruction constitution; it was submitted to the people and 
ratified February 4, 1868. Like that of 1819, it makes formal 
recognition of education as a part of the duties of the State, but it is 
sharply differentiated from the earher document and from aU of its 
own day, except one, by the creation of a new and distinct governing 
authority in education. It placed the common school and the 
pubhc educational institutions, including the university, under the 
management of a new board, styled the State board of education, 
of which the superintendent of pubhc instruction was declared presi- 
dent, the governor an ex officio member, and to which were added 
two elected members from each congressional district. It was given 
authority — 

to exercise full legislative powers in reference to the public educational institutions 
of the State, and its acts, when approved by the governor, or when reenacted by two- 
thirds of the board in case of his disapproval, shall have the force and effect of law, 
unless repealed by the general assembly. 

The constitution said further: 

It shall be the duty of the board to establish throughout the State, in each township 
or other school district which it may have created, one or more schools, at which all the 
children of the State between the ages of 5 and 21 years may attend free. 

It recognized the old educational fund of ante beUum days, 
declared it to be a ^^ perpetual fund," and in addition to these sources 
donated to education '^one-fifth of the aggregate annual income of 
the State." The assembly might give power to the local authorities 
to levy a poU tax, and '' o. specific annual tax" was to be levied — 

upon all railroad, navigation, banking, and insurance corporations, and upon all 
insurance and foreign bank and foreign exchange agencies, and upon the profits of 
foreign bank bills issued in this State by any corporation, partnership, or persons — 

to be devoted exclusively to the maintenance of pubhc schools. 

The new regime began July IS, 1868, with the meeting of the gen- 
eral assembly, the ratification of the fourteenth amendment, and the 
inauguration of W. H. Smith as the first reconstruction governor. 
One of Gov. Smith's first acts was to appoint Dr. N. B. Cloud, who 
had been more or less in pubhc hfe under the old regime, as superin- 
tendent of pubhc instruction (served till November 23, 1870). On the 
same day the new State board of education met for its prehminary 

The new school system itself did not differ greatly from the ante 
bellum one, except that the new constitution declared the schools to 
be entirely free. It was top-heavy, however, with the number and 
character of its administrative officers, who either from design or 


otherwise were to absorb a large share of the pubhc funds before they 
reached the schools. The stream could rise no higher than its source, 
and Dr. Fleming characterizes the school officers appointed by Dr. 
Cloud as '^ a forlorn lot." One signed for his salary with an X mark; 
another was of bad morals and incompetent; another was a preacher 
who had been expelled for misappropriating charity funds.^ 

One of the earliest acts of the new reconstruction legislature was 
to transfer to the board of education control of unexpended school 
funds in the hands of school officers and to authorize an investiga- 
tion of these funds by the new county superintendents who were then 
being appointed by the State superintendent. It also chartered lot- 
teries, on condition that they pay an annual tax to the school fund. 
The Mutual Aid Association, whose object was ^' to distribute books, 
paintings, works of art, scientific instruments," etc., was to pay 
$2,000 annually; the Mobile Charitable Association was to pay 
$1,000. The office of commissioner of lotteries was estabhshed and 
his duty was to levy and collect 1 per cent '^on the gross amount 
of sales or the gross income of the business of all lotteries now 
authorized or that may hereafter be authorized by law in this State." 

Other laws were passed to make more thorough the transfer of 
the school machinery to the new authorities, and it was ordered that 
the pubhc schools should be opened by October 1, 1868, ''as far as 
practicable." Eleven normal schools were estabhshed, the expenses 
of which were to be paid out of the general school funds, and a law 
was passed "to secure cooperation with the Bureau of Refugees, 
Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands." This law provided that the 
State superintendent should act on the ''general understanding" 
that (1) the bureau was to furnish school buildings; (2) the mis- 
sionary associations were to select and transport competent teachers 
to the scene of their labors; (3) the State was to examine and pay 
these teachers; and (4) the superintendent was to secure the transfer 
to the State of schoolhouses controlled by the bureau. 

Another act, general in character,' defined the rights and duties 
of the State superintendent, the county superintendent, and the local 
teachers. These did not differ in essential detail from those in 
earher laws. But it should be noted that the races were to be kept 
entirely distinct, "unless it be by the unanimous consent of the 
parents and guardians of such children." 

For its part the board of education began with an abundance of 
legislation, but it is difficult to say how many of these laws got into 
school practice. Some were in advance on the old order, e. g., re- 
quiring reports on school moneys; furnishing schoolhouses and 
defining more exactly the duties of school officers; providing for 
certain city systems; fixing the grade of teachers, and providing for 

1 See Fleming: Civil War and Reconstruction in Alabama, (1905), p. 609. 


teachers' examinations and for normal schools ; defining the scholastic 
year; and defining and estabhshing grades in the schools. These 
grades were fixed at four, and the subjects to be taught were outhned. 
With these rules and regulations the new school system went 
into operation with Dr. Cloud as State superintendent, and the 
reconstruction State board of education endowed with the power of 
legislation. The real difficulties of the schools during this period 
fell into one of two general categories. In the first place, it was 
difficult to secure local officers to administer the law; for the Con- 
servatives naturally stood in a hands-off attitude. The second diffi- 
culty was no less serious. The constitution provided that the school 
should be absolutely free, and while the available funds were not 
sufficient to secure this, no tuition might be charged. As a result 
of this dilemma, the schools established were neither sufficient in 
number to serve the State nor long enough in term to serve the 
children. Or, as Supt. Hodgson put it in 1871 : 

The result of this rule was that a large number of schools were opened, but they 
were generally schools which accomplished nothing. There were too many pupils 
for the teachers, and too many teachers for the fund. The sum total of schools and 
pupils made a large show upon paper, but the school was generally closed before the 
pupil had time to learn the alphabet. 

It does not appear that there was much serious opposition to the 
schools. It is true that Dr. Cloud complains loudly of '4dle poli- 
ticians" and '^disappointed newspaper editors" and prints letters 
from five county superintendents '^ detailing the character and extent 
of trouble and opposition they had in the appointment of trustees," 
but this was mere pofitics, directed more at the men in authority 
than at the system, and Dr. Cloud said that after his opponents 
had had 'Hheir minds disabused" of '^ blind prejudice" they became 
^^ friends and warm supporters of the system" and hailed it as " sl 
great national benefaction." What opposition there was grew largely 
out of the old ante bellum idea of hostility to ''free" or "pauper" 
schools. The leaders of this wing were not friendly to an education 
that was given away, and tliis hostility was intensified by the require- 
ment of the new constitution that the schools should be entirely 
free and no longer supplemented by private contributions and sub- 
scriptions as had always been the case in Alabama up to 1868. This 
requirement, indeed, acted as a two-edged sword. By forbidding 
these supplementary contributions it increased the number of those 
opposed to public education, and at the same time made the system 
less able to furnish free instruction. When the Conservatives came 
back mto power in 1870, the old idea of supplementing public funds 
with private subscriptions was revived. 

As for the education of the negroes, there was little opposition to 
that as such. The old slaveholders believed it to be necessary for 


the good of society. The Democratic party favored it; Gen. Clanton, 
the chairman of their executive committee, made speeches support- 
ing it; Gen. John B. Gordon, Hon. J. L. M. Curry, Col. Jefferson 
Falkner and Ex.-Gov. A. B. Moore were all its advocates. The 
Montgomery Advertiser and other papers even urged that destitute 
whites and disabled soldiers be employed as teachers. Confederate 
soldiers and Confederate widows taught negro schools, and the old 
school board of Mobile was organizing negro education in that city 
before the system of reconstruction was born.^ 

The story of the struggle in the city of Mobile between the old 
regime and the new is interesting and highly dramatic. 

In Mobile, it will be recalled, throughout the whole period after 
1826 a separate school organization had been maintained, free from 
all State trammels. Progress had been made there beyond all other 
sections of the Commonwealth, and the efforts of the reconstruction- 
ists to bring this independent system under State control precipitated 
a struggle that lasted as long as reconstruction itself. The Mobile 
schools had survived the greater part of the war; they had closed 
only with the Federal occupation in April, 1865, and had opened 
again in the fall of that year, but on a more restricted scale and with 
moderate charges for tuition to supplement decreased public funds. 
The receipts for the year 1865-66 were $35,017.16, of which about 
$22^000 was from tuition charges.^ The expenses for the same time 
were $44,191.86. For the year 1866-67 tuition fees were reduced 
one-half, and a movement for the education of colored children 
started as early as May, 1867. Mr. Clark, for the school committee, 
then reported that he had been in communication with the local 
superintendent of the Freedmen's Bureau who expressed gratifica- 
tion at this manifestation of local initiative on the part of the old 
conservative element, and that $12,000 had been provided by the 
bureau for a schoolhouse for colored pupils. The local board also 
sought to work in harmony with the American Missionary Associa- 
tion. For the year ending July 31, 1868, their total receipts, includ- 
mg tuition fees and money borrowed, was $64,835.29, and their 
total disbursements $62,180.86. 

From this account, abbreviated from the History of Education 
in Alabama by Willis G. Clark, a writer who for this part of the story 
is an original authority, we must conclude that the Mobile schools 
were slowly recovering from the effects of the war; that their local 
finances were improving; and that they were again headed in the 
direction of a public school system which should be entirely free. 
We note further that under liberal and progressive leadership these 

1 See Fleming: Civil War and Reconstruction in Alabama, pp. 623-631. 

2 An act of Feb. 9, 1866, allowed Mobile to levy on each $100 of property valuation a 5-cent tax for 
suitable houses, libraries, and apparatus. 


school commissioners, though Conservatives, had voluntarily taken 
up the subject of educating the negro, and were making progress. 
It was into this scheme of harmonious development that the recon- 
structionists broke. 

The reconstruction government had gone into effect July 13, 1868, 
and by an act of August 11 the new State board of education declared 
vacant all offices of county superintendents, township trustees, and 
school commissiorgers. Dr. Cloud, the State superintendent, then 
proceeded to the task of filling these offices with men of his own 
selection, and on August 18 appointed George L. Putnam county 
superintendent of Mobile. The old Mobile board of school commis- 
sioners had been appointed originally under military authority. 
They now proceeded to act on the assumption that the acts of the 
legislature and of the State board of education were illegal, as far as 
they were concerned. Putnam appeared before them demanding 
recognition as county superintendent, but ''not having filed a satis- 
factory bond, as required by law, the board did not inquire further 
into his authority or the legality of his appointment." 

The war was now on between the Mobile school commissioners, 
made up of both Eepublicans and Conservatives, on the one hand, 
and the board of education, the State superintendent, and the Mobile 
county superintendent on the other. Compromises were proposed 
and rejected. Then recourse was had to the courts, and a mandamus 
was secured ordering the school commissioners to surrender the books 
and property in their possession. This they refused to do, and they 
were held in prison for 48 hours where they were ''the recipients of 
innumerable courtesies and attentions from the officers of the j ail and 
the citizens of Mobile generally." The supreme court decided in 
their favor; they were released, and the school year of 1868-69 con- 
ducted under their direction showed a white school enrollment of 
2,417 and a negro enrollment of 919. In the first round they had had 
all the advantage. But the State officers were plucky and had other 
weapons in reserve. On June 30, 1869, the State superintendent 
formally suspended the Mobile school commissioners, and on August 
19, 1869, his action was approved by the board of education. They 
had still one other weapon. Under the law as it had existed sub- 
stantially since 1826, Mobile had its own school organization, collected 
its own taxes, and was expressly excepted from being amenable to 
the State authorities except to the extent of drawing its quota of 
State funds and making reports. But the constitution of 1868 had 
given to the State board of education "full legislative powers" in 
reference to the public educational institutions of the State, and on 
November 19, 1869, an act was passed by the board repealing the law 
which gave special immunities and powers to the school commis- 
sioners of Mobile. By this bold stroke the board disarmed its rivals 


and at once made itself master of the educational situation in the 
State. After the passage of this act the State authorities refused to 
pay over to the Mobile school commissioners the proportion of the 
school moneys due them from the State. The State superintendent, 
though he had vacillated ^nd sought to heal the breach by appointing 
a county superintendent agreeable to the board of school commis- 
sioners, now recognized Putnam as county superintendent and paid 
him considerable sums out of State funds.^ As % last resort the old 
school commissioners sued out an injunction against Putnam and 
sought to prevent him from collecting the money on these State 
warrants. The case came up before the supreme court in June, 1870. 
In a long and elaborate opinion, in which the whole history of the 
Mobile school system is reviewed at great length and the more recent 
educational legislation of the State reviewed and examined, the con- 
tentions of the attorneys for the school commissioners were rejected 
in toto and the injunction dissolved. After the announcement of 
this opinion, the school commissioners, disheartened and broken, 
defeated at every point, surrendered the school property to Putnam. 
Viewed from this distance and in the cold light of history, it would 
appear that whether the law was good or bad was immaterial; it was 
the law and was clearly on the side of Putnam; for, if words mean 
anything, the old board of school commissioners was clearly removed 
from office by the act of August 11, 1868, and all of their subsequent 
actions were illegal. On the other hand, it is just as clear that, had 
the reconstruction authorities kept hands off in Mobile, the progress of 
education would have been immensely advanced. The new system 
was forced on the people and maintained over them, but it was not 
welcome, and progress was slow. Putnam remained at the head of 
the schools till the spring of 1871. Indeed, it would seem that he 
did not release his claims to be county superintendent till November 
24, 1874, for on that date we find John M. McKleroy, State superin- 
tendent, invoking against him the very weapon he had used against 
the old board, for he was then, with the consent of the board of 
education, formally removed from office as superintendent on the 
ground that he had not filed his bond ^'as required by law" and that 
the '^public welfare" did not demand that ^'any change should be 
made in the county superin tendency." 

1 The matter was thrashed out by the judiciary committee of the assembly of 1870 who reported that 
through the "illegal conduct" of Cloud and Putnam the latter had obtained on January 29, 1869, between 
$5,000 and $6,000, and "by far the greater portion thereof was unlawfully applied, if not the whole amoimt 
thereof was illegally used," in paying certain teachers and employees of the "Blue College " in Mobile which 
was then conducted by the American Missionary Association; that in July, 1869, Putnam secured a warrant 
for over $9,000 which he was restrained by injrmction from collecting; that he received $2,000 or more for 
lawyer's fees; that he received $3,600, "a part, if not all of which, was illegally used or applied." They 
found also that unreasonably high salaries had been allowed. They recommended the abandonment of 
special school legislation as soon as possible; the passage of a law forbidding any person from holding more 
than one office in the entire school system; the adoption of a uniform compensation for all county superin- 
tendents and a general reduction in the pay of all officials, for these were partaking "too much of the 
quality of a sponge to the amount of funds raised for school purposes." — See Report of Judiciary Committee, 


This action had been made possible by a partial defeat of the 
Repubhcan Party in 1870, when the Conservatives again secured 
control of the State superintendency (Nov. 23, 1870). They then 
began a reorganization of the State board of education and at once 
passed a law (November, 1870) giving Mobile the right of electing 
its own superintendent and school commissioners. In this way, 
says ^ir. Clark, the old — 

order was gradually restored and the schools were placed once more in good working 
condition. There was still a board of commissioners, but they had little power under 
the law and, practically, were simply advisers of the superintendent. The board, 
however, was made up of some of the best citizens of Mobile County. 

With the constitution of 1875 Mobile again attained the degree of 
autonomy which she had enjoyed in ante bellum days, since by 
that instrument she was again declared independent of the State 
system except as to drawing her quota of State funds and making 
reports. These privileges were formally recognized m the general 
reorganization act of February 8, 1877.^ 

After this digression into the history of education in Mobile, 
which clearly illustrates the diflB-Culties the system was forced to 
encounter because of pohtics, it is possible to turn again to the 
State system and consider its somxes of income. 

These were, besides the income on the old perpetual (paper) 
fund, including also certain fines, Hcenses, donations, and taxes 
from corporations : 

1. A poll tax on all males 21 to 45 years of age. (Constitution.) 

2. A special county tax of 10 cents on $100. (Revised Code, 
sec. 992.) 

3. An annual donation from the State of $100,000 under section 
957 of the Revised Code. 

4. One-fifth of ''the aggregate annual revenue of the State." 

But as already seen, these sums were not enough to estabhsh 
successfully a State system of free schools; nor were funds from 
all of these sources immediately available. For the school year 
October 1, 1868, to September 30, 1869, the funds were divided as 
follows : 

Balance due and appropriated as per act of Oct. 10, 1868 ^200, 000. 00 

Interest on sixteenth section fund, at 8 per cent 136, 812. 59 

Interest on valueless sixteenth section fund, at 8 per cent 7, 967. 30 

Interest on surplus revenue fund, at 8 per cent 53, 626. 94 

Amount received from retail licenses -. . . 26, 514. 85 

Appropriations as per the code, section 957 100, 000. 00 

Total 524, 621. 68 

1 See Cloud's account of this contest in the appendix to the Report of Supt. Pub. Instruction for 1869; 
also in Journal Board of Education, July and August sessions, 1869. The side of the school commissioners 
may be seen in Clark's History of Education in Alabama, Washington, 1889, based on The Board of School 
Commissioners and the Public School System of the City and County of Mobile, 1869. See also 44 Ala. 
Sup. Ct. Reports, case of Mobile School Commissioners v. Putnam et al., and the Report of the Judiciary 
Committee (1870). 


As was to be expected, the weakness of the system and the inex- 
perience of its administrators were soon manifest. The legislature 
had levied no tax on property and no poll tax for school purposes, 
but depended on the earnings of the perpetual (paper) fund and 
on the $100,000 straight appropriation from the State; the superin- 
tendent's office was slow and did not publish its county apportion- 
ments for the school year 1868-69 till June, 1869. In the meantime 
the county school officers had opened schools and employed teachers 
in utter ignorance of what was coming to them from the State. 
The inevitable followed. Says Supt. Cloud, in reviewing the work 
of the year: 

There are many most excellent and worthy teachers, both gentlemen and ladies, 
in almost every county of the State who have failed to receive full pay for their 
services in the free public schools — some for one month, some for two months, and 
some for even more — from the fact that when the delayed apportionment went out 
to the county superintendents it was found that the amount of teachers' salaries 
for services already rendered was greater than the apportionment to the town- 
ship in which such schools were taught. Then the practice was with the county 
superintendents to scale down the accounts of these teachers, pro rata, to fit the 

The total expenditures for the year were more than $502,156.19, 
which sum had been disbursed up to the time Dr. Cloud made his 
report. He was negligent in his statistics ; his successor furnishes fig- 
ures for him. Mr. Hodgson, in his special report in 1871, gives the 
number of schools in 1869, as by estimate, 3,225, and the pupils en- 
rolled as 160,000. The amount expended for county administration 
and supervision was $75,173.92, which was chargeable against 
county funds. The superintendent reports 2,902 teachers and nine 
normal schools with 300 prospective teachers who were being trained 
at an annual cost of $12,000. These normal schools seem to have 
been really normal classes in connection with other institutions. 
Tuition fees were paid by the State in return for a promise to teach 
for two years in the public schools. It is evident that they did not 
appeal to the Conservativ3s : 

It is not known by the superintendent [Hodgson] what progress has been made 
by these pupils, what interest they exhibit in learning, what assurance the depart- 
ment had as to their capacity, intellectually or morally, or whether any of them 
were prepared, during the year 1869, or the year 1870, to assume the duties of teacher, 
or whether any of them actually entered upon such duties. The subsequent aban- 
donment of the schools, it is fair to presume, has resulted in a loss to this department 
of $12,000 for the year 1869 and $25,000 for the year 1870. ^ It was an unwise policy 
to have established such a number of normal schools at the outset. 

Another accomplishment of the reconstructionists — one in which 
they again came into antagonism with the old decentralized; inde- 
pendent system of the earher days when every community was a 

1 The exact cost was $16,582.10. 


law unto itseK — was in the adoption of a State system of textbooks. 
The books adopted included Parker and Watson's Eeaders, Davies's 
Arithmetics, Monteith's Geographies, Clark's Grammars, Monteith's 
and Willard's Histories, and others. 

Dr. Fleming, in his Civil War and Eeconstruction in Alabama, 
says (p. 623) that this adoption was the work of Dr. Cloud and that 
the texts were ^^objectionable to the majority of the whites." Dr. 
Fleming adds further : 

This was especially the case with the history books, which the whites complained 
were insulting in their accounts of southern leaders and southern questions. Cloud 
was not the man to allow the southern view of controversial questions to be taught in 
schools under his control. About 1869 he secured a donation of several thousand 
copies of history books which gave the northern views of American history, and 
these he distributed among the teachers and the schools. But most of the literature 
that the whites considered objectionable did not come from Cloud's department, but 
from the bureau and aid society teachers, and was used in the schools for blacks. 
There were several series of "Freedmen's Readers" and "Freedmen's Histories"- 
prepared for use in negro schools. But the fact remains that for 10 or 15 years north- 
ern histories were taught in white schools and had a decided influence on the readers. 
It resulted in the combination often seen in the late southern writer — of northern 
views of history with southern prejudices. 

For the work of the school year 1870^ which in reahty covers the 
period from October 1, 1869, to January 1^ 1871, we must look not 
to Dr. Cloud, who was in authority till November 23, 1870, but to 
his successor. Col. Hodgson. The white schools were reported as 
1,355 in number and the colored as 490, making only 1,845, as against 
an estimated total of 3,225 for 1869. The white children numbered 
229,139; the negro children, 157,918; total, 387,057. This gave an 
apportionment of $1.15, as against $1.20 per child for 1869. There 
was apportioned $464,496, but at the end of the year $99,825.27 was 
still undrawn, although ^Heachers have been clamorous for their pay 
for months." Why this decay in school interests and sharp dechne 
in the number of schools and in payment of teachers ? It is impos- 
sible to assign a more satisfactory reason than that given by Hodgson, 
who says it was due to the ^'numbers of incompetent men" who 
were appointed ^^as county superintendents in 1868" and were 
^'either ignorant, dilatory, or unmindful of their plain duties." He 
points out also that when he came into office $145,783.49 of the regu- 
lar appropriations for schools for 1868-69 and 1869-70 were stiU to 
be accounted for. 

The assembly which met in November, 1870, being conservative 
in pohtics, appointed a commission ^Ho examine into and report 
upon the affairs in the offices of the superintendent of public instruc- 
tion, auditor, and State treasurer." They had no criticisms on the 
last two officers, but of the superintendent of public instruction they 
report that there was "wsmi of any organized system of keeping 


the books" and that the books then used '^had not been posted dur- 
ing the whole scholastic year." They found erasures in the accounts 
of one county and that in two others certificates had been allowed 
without sufficient proof that schools had been taught. Dr. Cloud 
was charged with paying out money ^^ without due regard to the 
interest of the State/' but the committee was impartial enough to 
say he had done this with the consent of the attorney general. 

It appears that the new governor went beyond this mild criticism, 
for he refers to the report as showing — 

not only an unsatisfactory, but a most shameful and reprehensible state of things. 
The facts set forth by the commissioners are surely a stern condemnation of the man- 
agement of our educational system during the past year.^ 

With the election of 1870; the accession to the superintendency of 
a Conservative^ and the subsequent reorganization of the board of 
education, the reconstruction period in education practically comes 
to an end, although another reconstruction superintendent was in 
office in 1872-1874, and the machinery of administration was not 
changed till the adoption of the new constitution in 1875. What 
success did Conservatives have with the reconstruction machinery? 
A review of the next few years will give answer. 

The first Conservative superintendent was Col. Joseph Hodgson, 
who succeeded to the ofiice November 23, 1870, and served till Sep- 
tember 30, 1872. 

The law of November, 1870, restored a degree of seK-government 
to the school organization by providing that in March, 1871, the 
counties should elect a county superintendent of education and two 
directors and that in April there should be elected in each township 
three trustees. This was a return toward the old order and was of 
service, since it made available the best men in the State. 

Serious efforts were made to inaugurate economy in administrative 
expenses — possibly sometimes at the cost of efficiency; so that when 
compared with 1870 the cost of coimty superintendents was found to 
have been reduced from $57,776 to $34,259, and their expenses from 
$21,202 to $4,752. Thus in the matter of school disbursements the 
saving was $39,969.86. And when we consider the total adminis- 
trative cost, we find it reduced from $86,123.82 in 1870 to $44,588.21 
in 1871, or a saving of $41,535.61.2 

Reforms were also urged in the manner of accounting, because it was 
found that $260,556.37 drawn from the treasury since July, 1868, was 
still unaccounted for by vouchers and that $211,217.79 in school war- 
rants was unpaid. 

1 Senate Journal, 1870, pp. 84-89. 

2 See Hodgson's report for 1871. Against this must be set the fact, however, that the school year 1870 
extended from Oct. 1, 1869, to Jan. 1, 1871; the year 1871 from Jan. 1, 1871, to Oct. 1, 1871. 


In reviewing the school fund due and available, Col. Hodgson 
showed that a total of $124,738.04 for the years 1868-69, 1869-70, 
and 1870-71 had not yet been certified to the local officers by the 
auditor; that $211,217.79 in school warrants was unpaid September 
30, 1871 ; and that the school funds for 1871-72 called for $604,978.50, 
making a total of $940,934.33 then due from the treasury to the 
schools, an amount so large that ^'at the present rate of taxation the 
entire revenue of the State will probably not reach this sum." The 
superintendent adds that, as a result of these demands — 

at an early day in our scholastic year the treasury ceased cashing warrants in favor of 
county superintendents, and those officers were forced to raise money as best they 
could upon the State warrants, or to leave a portion of the claims of teachers unpaid. 

As a relief for the teachers the superintendent suggested short-term 

These strictures brought on a sharp clash between the State super- 
intendent and the State auditor over the financial situation, as the 
former charged that the latter had been negligent in making up his 
estimate of educational expenses for the coming year. The latter, in 
his report for 1871, also discussed the situation and had his own ex- 
planation. According to the auditor, in 1871, the main trouble in 
administering the new law lay in the provision which allowed county 
superintendents to draw out of the State treasury in advance at the 
beginning of each quarter or at the beginning of the year all the 
money due the county.^ It was used perhaps in the county by the 
superintendent or was kept in reserve until the end of the quarter, 
when it was paid out to teachers for services during the quarter. In 
this way it was liable to misuse and, if not misused, lay idle for the 
quarter, and so put the treasury to straits. Under the law the county 
superintendent might draw his whole year's apportionment in ad- 
vance. Of this custom the auditor says: 

Sound policy would dictate that no moneys be drawn from the State treasury until 
earned in the various townships, and when drawn by county superintendents, it should 
be for direct transmission to the teachers by whom it was earned. No county superin- 
tendent should be allowed to retain thousands of dollars, belonging to the State for 
the use of schools, for a term of months, especially when the treasury became embar- 
rassed by such action. 

The apportionment for 1871 was $547,773.07, which produced a 
rate of $1,331 per capita of the school population. This year there 
were enrolled 141,312 pupils, with an average attendance of 107,666, 
more than doubling that of 1870. There were 3,321 schools, in- 
cluding 253 classed as high schools; there were 3,470 teachers; the 
average pay was $42.60 per month, practically the same as in 1870; 
and the length of term was 66.5 days, an increase of 17.5 days over 
1870. The two years, when compared, showed an increase of 17.25 

1 This clause was repealed in January, 1871. 
75075°— 15 7 


per cent in available funds; 106 per cent in average attendance; and 
35.71 per cent in length of sctiool term. These facts clearly prove that 
the change in administration was highly beneficial to the schools, that 
funds were more carefully and more economically administered, and 
that the people were taking a heartier and more general interest in 
the schools. 

But while there was progress and interest, economy and enthusiasm, 
there were still lions in the way. Perhaps no clearer conception of 
the situation and of its difficulties as a whole can be had than may be 
gathered from extracts from county reports : 

The public generally are interested in the schools * * * 50 per cent better than 
last year. The people are very well pleased. — Baker County. 

We have made the public fund auxiliary only, and the patrons are required to pay 
the teacher the principal part of his salary. This we have been obliged to do in order 
to keep the schools in operation long enough to derive son?e benefits from them. — 
Blount County. 

Many of the children have to help their parents make crops, but are at school every 
spare day.^ — Lawrence County. 

The schedule of studies has been changed in a great measure for colored pupils. 
I found pupils in the colored schools studying geography and grammar who could not 
write at all. — Mobile County. 

The people are not satisfied with the present system; they wish it as it was before the 
war. There is too much reporting and trouble about it, as it is. — Shelby County. 

The attendance at schools is good in these neighborhoods that want and will have 
schools, regardless of the public fund, but in other neighborhoods they attend so long 
as the public fund lasts, and sometimes stop before the fund gives out, for fear they will 
have something to pay.— St. Clair County. 

Many people will not consent to pay anything to continue a school after the public 
fund is exhausted, and the consequence is the neighborhood is without a school, there 
being too few willing to pay to make up a school. * * * The colored teachers are 
poorly qualified. * * * Their patrons will not buy books and do not feel the 
importance of sending their children regularly to school. * ^ * In some townships 
the schools have been discontinued during the working season, and taken up again 
when crops are laid by, for those negroes who seem to appreciate education are work- 
ing negroes and require their children to work also. — Talladega County. 

These extracts clearly show that the schools were still bound down 
by political toils; teaching, which under Republican rule was consid- 
ered highly discreditable, under Democratic administration became 
highly meritorious. We see also that many were still turning with 
longing eyes to the old decentralized type of school, but the extract 
from Lawrence perhaps gives the true key to the situation — the chil- 
dren were '^at school every spare day" — education was as yet either 
an ornament or a luxury; it was not yet a necessity. 

The superintendent points out another weakness of the State sys- 
tem as then administered, and shows that Alabama as a State was 
then — 

attempting to do more for public instruction than her means will justify and more 
in proportion to her population and resources than any of the older and more pop- 
ulous States of the North. 


This was clearly because the State did all. The superintendent 
sought to correct the abuse by a more stringent collection of poll tax 
and suggested a '^resort, if the people vote to do so, to local taxa- 
tion by vote of taxpayers in each school district, as is done in other 
States.'' He urged that the pay of county school officers be shifted 
from State to county funds and that ^^each county shall provide for 
its pubhc schools a sum equal to one-fourth or one-haK of the State 
appropriation." It is evident that the superintendent dimly realized 
that one of the defects of the public-school system in Alabama was 
that the local units depended on the State for nearly or quite every- 
thing. Local initiative was entirely wanting, and the schools lan- 
guished because they had not yet learned the lesson of self help — a 
situation which '^ forward-looking men" in Alabama have not even 
yet been able to remove. 

So far had the doctrine of centralization taken root in the Demo- 
cratic State of Alabama in 1871 that even the few local taxes levied 
under the permissive law had to pass through the hopper of State 
machinery before they could be used by the county levying them. 
They were collected and forwarded to the State treasury, then at con- 
siderable expense and trouble they were returned to the county where 
they originated. With the poll tax it was worse still, for this was 
not only sent to the State treasury, but was then prorated — an en- 
couragement to both ambitious and indifferent counties to do less and 
less. Against these conditions both auditor and superintendent pro- 
tested, and urged the repeal of laws so destructive to local initiative. 

Another trouble which confronted the schools was the imperfection 
of the law; salaries were at the caprice of trustees, and when earned 
could not be promptly paid, even if the cash was in the treasury. 
Under the law as originally passed by the board of education the 
county superintendent might draw the whole of his apportionment 
during the first quarter, but this worked hardship with the treasury. 
This was complained against and was repealed by the assembly in 
January, 1871.^ Then it was provided that the apportionment 
should be drawn only quarterly, and the following situation resulted: 
A teacher began his school, say, in January and finished in March; 
he could then draw only one-quarter of his salary, but for the re- 
mainder ''must wait until the second, third, and fourth quarter roll 
around before he can be paid in full."^ Against this situation the 
superintendent entered a vigorous protest, and it was remedied by 
act of December 14, 1871. 

The State superintendent could, however, report progress. There 
was organized a State teachers' association; there were satisfactory 
teachers' institutes; the establishment of normal schools was recom- 
mended, and eight were provided for, four for each race; private 

1 See report, 1871, p. 16. 2 Report, 1871, p. 22. 


assistance was again coming to the aid of the schools, and in this way 
the term was being lengthened; the schools were beginning to make 
an impression on the people; the improved laws and ''the election 
of county superintendents of capacity and energy" were having the 
desired effects. 

Because of a change in the school year the official year 1871 em- 
braced only the nine months between January 1 and October 1. 
The year 1871-72 extended from October 1, 1871, to September 30, 
1872, and at its end Col. Hodgson retired. We have seen that the 
first year of his work was devoted mainly to straightening out the 
financial tangles into which the school funds- had fallen, from lack 
of care on the part of officers and of cash in the treasury. With the 
opening of his second year there was improvement, yet there re- 
mained two or three depressing elements in school life of which the 
superintendent speaks : 

From unofficial reports of county superintendents I am informed that large amounts 
of warrants remain in their hands unpaid. It has been impossible, therefore, for 
county superintendents to balance their accounts with this office. * * -st Much 
complaint is made by teachers of public schools that the treasurer is not able to pay 
their claims promptly. ^ * * I would urge upon the general assembly "^ "^ * 
to order a sale of sufficient State bonds to liquidate every cent of the indebtedness 
to her public schools. I would urge that the proceeds from the sale of these bonds 
be kept apart in the treasury from all other moneys and be held inviolably for edu- 
cational purposes. I would urge, furthermore, that when the State shall have paid 
up all school dues to the end of the present fiscal year the school revenue for every 
year thereafter shall be kept separate and distinct from all other funds, and, as the 
constitution commands, ''shall be inviolably appropriated to educational purposes 
and no other purposes whatever. ' ' This section of the constitution has never yet been 
put into effect by law. * * "^ The abolition of the board of education and the 
return of all legislative power respecting education to the hands of the general assem- 
bly would remove many difficulties which now embarrass the department, and would, 
in my opinion, meet the cordial approval of the intelligent people of the State. I 
am informed that but one State in the Union has ever had such an educational board 
as is provided for by our constitution. 

As far as figures and nimibers go, however, there was no reason 
for dissatisfaction with the year 1871-72. The school income was 
$607,060.97; the apportionment $553,067.65, or $1.36 per school 
capita, as against $1.33 in 1871, with $12,000 for normal schools. 
The school population was 403,735; the total enrollment 103,615, 
and the average attendance 81,157, with 22 counties not heard from, 
as against 141,312 and 107,666, respectively, for 1871. The salary 
of white teachers in 42 counties and in the city of Mobile was $38, 
and the length of term 72 days. For colored teachers in the same 
territory it was $40 and 71 days. 

During these years educational legislation was left practically in 
the hands of the board of education by the legislature. The board 
was not slow to exercise its legislative functions; besides much 


routine legislatioD looking to the relief of individuals, there were acts 
fixing the salary of teachers, the limit being $60 per month, and 
requiring the to'wnship trustees to see that the school funds were so 
supplemented as to bring the term to five months; four normal 
schools for white teachers, with $4,500 available funds, and four for 
colored teachers, with $4,750, were provided. A normal school for 
white female teachers and a ' 'central normal schooP' at the uni- 
versity were also provided, but the first and third of these acts were 
repealed by the legislature in February, 1872. 


The successor of Col. Hodgson was Col. Joseph H. Speed (1872- 
1874). The pohtical pendulum had again favored the Republicans, 
and Col. Speed sought to make party capital by using the arguments 
of his Democratic opponents. He urged ''that reform, retrench- 
ment, economy" be "severely and rigidly enforced." He reviewed 
the educational experiences of the past: 

Every dollar of the public-school fund and the university fund given the State by 
the General Government has either been squandered or lost. Let us satisfy our tax- 
burdened people that every cent of their money shall be honestly, judiciously, and 
economically expended, and that all disbursing school officers shall be held to the 
severest account. * * ^ It has been represented ■'^ * * that many county 
superintendents of education are in default. * * ^ Those who have been un- 
faithful and dishonest (if such there be) in applying and using the money raised for 
the education of the jpoor children of our State should not go unpunished. 

It was imperatively necessary, first of all, that the system get back 
to a business basis, and soon after Col. Speed's accession to ofiice the 
board of education entered upon legislative activities which were far- 
reaching in. their effect. These acts included the introduction of 
certaia textbooks into the system, but teachers were at fiber ty to 
refuse to use any books which had not been adopted by the board; 
county superintendents were required to have an office at the county 
seat; city systems separate and distinct from other parts of the 
county school system were inaugurated for Selma, Opefika, Eufaula, 
and Birmingham; and a normal school for white male teachers was 
estabfished at Florence. 

The most important of these acts, however, grew out of the des- 
perate financial straits to which the schools had now been reduced. 
There had been more schools and more teaching than the State could 
pay for, and to prevent a bad situation from becoming still worse 
the board passed an act on December 14, 1872, which ordered that 
after January 1, 1873, school officers — 

shall cause to be closed all the free public schools in their respective townships and 
counties, and shall employ no teacher in any public school in this State until said 
trustees shall be informed by the superintendent of public instruction that funds 
have been provided for the prompt payment of teachers. 


This act was the most important part of the school legislation for 
the year. It was drastic and yet necessary to bring the schools 
back to a cash basis, for at the end of the year on September 30, 

1872, there was due the school fund and still unpaid the sum of 
$317,575.35, and this amount was steadily increasing. This situa- 
tion had been brought about by two causes. The custom had 
arisen in the days just after the war of borrowing the school funds to 
meet what seemed to be more pressing needs, and this misapplica- 
tion of funds had not yet ceased. In the second place, there had 
arisen under the stress of public poverty the custom of issuing State 
warrants or certificates in anticipation of taxes. These warrants 
were made receivable for taxes and as such circulated as a sort 
of bastard currency and at more or less discount. In 1871-72 
warrants amounting to nearly as much as a year's taxes were issued. 
They came back to the treasury the next year in payment of taxes, 
and the school administration faced the dilemma of either new 
warrants or bankruptcy. It was to meet this situation that the 
law of December -14, 1872, was passed, and as a result there were 
practically no public schools in Alabama January 1 to October 1, 

1873, except such as were supported by local funds. The schools 
were thus the first to feel the effects of these financial troubles, and 
the principal work of the superintendent during that summer was to 
explain to his correspondents, to school officers and others, why 
there could be no public schools 

The assembly, in order to stop the misapplication of school funds 
and to reestablish the schools, passed an act April 19, 1873, of far- 
reaching significance for the schools. This act required the county 
tax collector to pay the poll tax to the county treasurer, instead of 
the State treasurer. It required further that by December 10 of 
each year the State superintendent should announce the apportion- 
ment due each county, exclusive of poll tax and special tax, if any, 
and that 90 per cent of this sum should be paid by the county tax 
collector directly to the county treasurer. In this way the greater 
part of the school money was held in the county. The remaining 10 
per cent was held in the State treasury for the benefit of the counties.^ 

Four days later (April 23), as if having ceased to hope for help 
at home, the assembly appointed a joint committee to memorialize 
Congress in behalf of the public schools. They were to ask for 
3,000,000 acres of the public land stiU lying idle in the State and to 
pledge the faith of the State for the safe administration of the fund, 
the principal to be inviolate, the income only to be used. Nothing 
seems to have come out of this memorial. 

It is evident that the radical changes inaugurated by the laws of 
December 14, 1872, and April 19, 1873, would upset entirely the 

1 Laws of 1872-73, p. 6. 


school interests for the year 1872-73. There was set aside this year 
for school purposes the sura of $524,452.40, and there was issued in 
warrants during the first quarter $68,313.93, but- 
even for the limited extent to which schools have been taught during the last year, 
the treasury has not been in such condition as to enable teachers to draw the small 
amounts of money due them. The best that could be done was to have treasury 
warrants drawn in such way as would be most advantageous to these worthy claimants. 

The office of education issued certificates upon which school war- 
rants were drawn by the auditor. These were made payable. to the 
county superintendent, who indorsed them and paid them out to 
such teachers as would receive them. Their acceptance was not 
legally compulsory, but was economically so, for it was this or nothing, 
and since the warrants could not be paid by the State, the teachers 
were forced to discount them at usm'ious rates. The effect of this 
upon the morale of the teachers can be easily seen. 

To increase the value of the warrants the superintendent suggested 
that they be made to bear interest. In his official correspondence he 
emphatically denies that he had been a paj'ty to the custom of pass- 
ing over the claims of teachers in favor of other creditors and in 
his pubhshed report says of the teachers: 

There is no class of State creditors more meritorious than the teachers of public 
schools; no claims against the State can be urged with stronger force than theirs. 
Indeed, there are many patent reasons why their dues should be entitled to prece- 
dence in payment, so long as the State is compelled to discriminate even temporarily 
between her creditors. The large amount due the schools, as above shown, has accu- 
mulated because the exigencies of the State have been such as to compel the use of 
the money to meet other demands. 

In another part of his report (1873), he says: 

The financial depression experienced by all branches of the State Government for 
the last year has been specially embarrassing to the public school system. * * * 
To those at a distance * * * it is proper to observe that the difficulties are in no 
respect attributable to any act, either of commission or omission, on the part of the 
officials intrusted with the duty of 'administering the affairs of the State Government 
for the period mentioned. 

It is clearly evident, moreover, that the board of education felt 
matters had now come to a standstill. They evidently doubted the 
sufficiency of the act of Aprfi. 19, 1873, and in a memorial dated 
November 25, 1873, put the matter squarely before the assembly. 
They say: 

The want of money has crippled the educational department and led to the sus- 
pension of the free public schools throughout the State. This unfortunate condition 
has not resulted from unwise legislation on the part of the board of education, nor 
from incompetency or imfaithfulness in our school officials, but is chiefly due to the 
fact that no act has been passed to enforce section 10, article 11, of the constitution of 
the State of Alabama, which provides that certain revenue and other school funds 
therein named "shall be inviolably appropriated to educational purposes and to no 
other purpose whatever." 



Since the organization of the present school system in 1868 this provision of the con- 
stitution has been disregarded by each successive legislature. Your honorable bodies 
have been the first to carry it partially into effect. [By law of Apr. 19, 1873.] 

Each year an increasing percentage of the school fund has been diverted from its 
legitimate use to the defraying of the general expenses of the State, which compelled 
the board of education to close the schools for the want of money to pay teachers and 

The contention of the board was shown by the following figures 
given by them of sums apportioned^ sums actually paid out for the 
schools, sums due but not paid to the schools at the end of the year, 
and the total sums still due.^ 

Appropriations and expenditures for public schools, 1869-1874. 


ment for 

Received for 



Balance due 

schools at 

end of year. 

Total amount 



$306, 872. 99 



68, 313. 93 

$193, 724, 19 



417, 165. 40 


1 1, 260, 511. 92 




1873- -74 

1 Due Nov. 25, 1873. 

The board felt under the necessity of defending itself for closing 
the schools by act of December 14, 1872. There was choice only 
between closing the schools and issuing more school warrants. The 
issue of more warrants would have depreciated still further the value 
of those already issued and seriously embarrassed the State. 

They continued: 

Your memorialists would impress upon your honorable bodies that the State is 
more than two years in arrears to this school fund. The board of education is power- 
less to remedy the condition of the school finances. ->fr * * Your memorialists would 
repeat that the present condition of the educational department is not the result of un- 
wise legislation * * * nor of unfaithfulness or inefficiency of school officials, nor 
of the expensiveness of the administration of the school laws. There has not been a 
dollar, of which they are aware, lost by the default of any school officer since January 
1, 1871. ^- * * This is as economical an administration of the educational depart- 
ment as can be found in any State. It seems hardly practicable to reduce expenses 
any further. No system probably can be devised which will pay teachers more than 
94 per cent of the fund. The present school system will do this, and would have done 
it at any time during the past four years had the legislature provided for the prompt 
payment of the school money. It is for your honorable bodies to determine what 
relief you can afford. 

For its part the legislature of 1873-74, to whom this memorial was 
addressed, seems to have done nothing beyond making a special 
appropriation of $170,688,85, ^^ which is the amount of interest accru- 
ing on the sixteenth section funds,'' for as Col. Speed was continually 
pointing out to his correspondents during the summer of 1873, the 

1 It will be noted that the treasurer's reports for these years show "larger amounts than here given dis- 
bursed for educational purposes; but the excess was used in paying indebtedness for previous years." 


suspension of the schools did not affect the income of the permanent 
school fmid: ^^It is not suspended, but goes on accumulating without 
any reference to any interruption in the State's finances." It does 
not appear, however, that this appropriation was paid. State bonds 
could no longer be sold, and the sole dependence was on taxes. The 
act of December 17, 1873, forbidding tax collectors and all others 
engaged in collecting revenue from trading in any way in State 
warrants, State certificates, or other State securities is a sufficient 
indication of one difficulty which the school system had to face. 

Col. Speed's statistics for 1873-74 are exceedingly scanty. In his 
report of November 10, 1873, he estimated that the poU tax to be 
retained in the counties amounted to $80,486.11, while the 90 per 
cent certified to the counties under the law of April 19, 1873, amounted 
to $352,673.92, making a total of $433,160.53 which the counties 
might count on as cash, since it was a first lien on the taxes of each 
county; but, as this was the first year of the law, its practical work- 
ing proved — 

very unsatisfactory and embarrassing. It proved hard to make the county superin- 
tendents understand how the 90 per cent was drawn and still more difficult to have 
them conform to the conditions which the new system imposed. 

In some counties the 90 per cent certified was more than was col- 
lectable, and the superintendent still felt it necessary to urge that — 

some plan may be matured and adopted by which our public school system will realize 
the benefits of the money that has become due to it by the regular laws of the State. 
* "^ * An experience of two years ^ ^ ^ has shown me more and more forci- 
bly the almost absolute necessity of some fixed, known, and available dependence 
for the support of schools and teachers. Our schools need more energy * ^ *. Yet 
there is no more difficult task ^ ^ ^ than to break up the humdrum, listless, life- 
less performance of school duties, which inevitably attends upon long delayed, incom- 
plete, or uncertain payment of the teachers. 

According to Col. Speed's report of September 30, 1874, the 
total available funds for the year 1873-74, exclusive of poll and 
special taxes, were $405,080.42; the total expenditure, $404,301.14. 
We have no way of explaining the difference between the figures 
given in this report and those of the earfier one. There were reported 
233,333 white and 172,506 negro school children. There are no sta- 
tistics of enrollment, attendance, schools, or teachers. It looks as if 
Fleming's sweeping charge (p. 633) was literally true: 

Practically all of the negro schools and many of the white ones were forced to close 
and the teachers, when paid at all by the State, were paid in depreciated State obli- 

This administration did not close without an official investigation 
''into the irregularities alleged." The committee made its report 
December 15, 1873, and showed up certain blameworthy shortcom- 
ings. The gist of its conclusion was that there was in the depart- 


ment ''such a want of system in its general management as must 
necessarily keep it involved in inextricable confusion."-^ 

Since with Col. Speed's administration reconstruction in the 
schools comes to an end, we may quote here the words of Leroy F. 
Box, later State superintendent, as to why the reconstruction system 
was ''unpopular and therefore unsatisfactory." He says: 

Among these [causes] may be mentioned unwise legislation * * *. But it is 
probably true that the chief cause of the unpopularity of the system through all these 
years may be found in the fact that upon its reorganization after the war, our people 
were led to expect too much from it. Men whose interests were not identified with 
the people of Alabama ^ ^ * beld out to our people the alluring but false hope 
that Alabama had at her command and disposal a magnificent school fund — a fund 
suflacient not only to maintain the schools annually throughout the entire year, but 
to build and equip schoolhouses and even to furnish lights and fuel for use in the 
schools. So rigid was the construction placed by these men upon the provisions of 
the State constitution of 1868 relating to the public school system, that it was held to 
be unlawful for parents or guardians of children attending the public schools to sup- 
plement the township funds. And * * * our people, stricken down as they were 

* * ^ listened for a time to the song of the siren. 

With the awakening came a revulsion of feeling that home rule 
could not immediately dissipate. 

Hon. John M. McKleroy, who succeeded Col. Speed in 1874 and 
served till 1876, shows a clear understanding and a sure grasp of his 
subject. Had he remained at the head of the schools, he might have 
developed into an educational statesman. During his administration 
the constitution of 1868 was superseded by that adopted in 1875, 
which more clearly represented the thoughts and feelings, the hopes 
and aspirations, of the people then in power in the State. 

It is evident that for the year 1874-75 there was marked improve- 
ment. Says the superintendent : 

In all the counties, and in nearly every school district in the State, one or more 
schools have been in operation, and there are but few districts where schools for each 
race have not existed * -^^ *. It is '^ * ^ believed that every person in the 
State, within the school age, has had the opportunity and privilege of attending the 
free public schools during the last scholastic year. 

The enrollment for the year was 145,797 out of 406,270 children 
between 5 and 21, and while the enrollment was only 36 per cent of 
the school population we must recall that this was nearly 40,000 more 
than in any previous year. The school term for whites reached 90 
days, at a cost of $3.09 for the term per pupil; for the negroes the 
term was 83 days, at a cost of $3.79 per pupil. 

Says the superintendent: 
. It will be readily observed that the tuition of these pupils in private schools would 
have been about seven times more than it has been under our free school system 

* * *. It is also the fact that our schools have been kept in operation during the 
past year much longer than during any previous year since the constitution of 1868 
has been in force. 

1 See Senate Journal, Nov. sess,, 1873, pp. 245-252. 


These improvements were attributed to (1) the adequate school 
fund for the year; (2) the availability of the fund when needed; (3) 
the wise laws for regulating the schools and disbursing the fund made 
by the board of education; (4) the efficiency of a majority of the 
county superintendents. 

The school fund for 1874-75 was $565,042.94, including $73,555.30 
of poll tax levied, collected, and retained in the counties. There was 
disbursed in aU during the year $562,437.50, including the poll tax 
mentioned above and the $10,000 appropriated to normal schools. 

In writing of the school fimd as ^^adequate,'' the superintendent 
emphasizes the fact that it was adequate only — 

to accomplish the great good which the reports show has been wrought by means of 
the schools. And it is proper to state that this result even has not been attained 
with the money appropriated by the State alone, for it will appear further on that 
the patrons of the schools have, in many instances, supplemented the public funds. 

* * * There are in the State 1,696 school districts. * ^ * In each of these 
districts there must be at least one school for each race, and in many of them more 
than one school for each race is required to accommodate all the children. ^- * * 
The whole fund of last year was only $1.39 per capita of the school population, and only 
$3,875 per capita of those enrolled in the schools. * * * The fund for the past 
year has been almost the same as the average appropriations for the preceding years 
since 1868; and if more has been accomplished with it than heretofore, it is due 
to the last three causes mentioned above. The principal of these is that money 
has been available when needed. I doubt not that the chief embarrassments of 
former administrations have been owing to the fact that when the schools were 
taught, and the money became due to the teachers, it could not be had. Pre- 
vious to the enactment of the law of April 19, 1873, by the general assembly, "To keep 
in each county in this State a proportionate share of the public school money, ' ' all the 
revenues of the State were paid into the State treasury by the collectors, and the money 
appropriated by the constitution and laws for educational purposes was not set apart 
and devoted to such purposes, but was used indiscriminately for any and all State 
expenditures. The consequence was that in almost every instance the money was 
not in the treasury when wanted, and poorly paid teachers had to accept warrants 
on the treasury, or nothing, for their services. They were then compelled to sell 
these warrants to speculators at ruinous discounts to procure the ordinary necessaries 
of life. Is it surprising that under such circumstances the school system should have 
been decried, and the administration of it should have been regarded with disfavor? 
No wonder that the people were ready to believe that a school system which seem- 
ingly absorbed so much of the State revenue and from which so little benefit was 
derived was worthless. No wonder that they began to contemplate seriously the pro- 
priety of an entire abolition of the system. * * * The passage of the act of 
April 19, 1873, was the beginning of a most salutary change to the school system. 

* ■^ "^ thus the [school] fund was exempted from the habitual misapplication.^ 

The law of April 19, 1873, was revised and amended by act of March 
19, 1875, so that all poll and special taxes remained in the county 
where levied and collected; the State superintendent made the appor- 
tionment on October 10, instead of December 10, and the 90 per cent 
was now paid to the county superintendent, who became custodian 

1 Report, 1874-75, pp. 6-11. 


of tlie county school fund, instead of the county treasurer. Thf^ 
remamder of the fund due the county was apportioned January 1, 
and was set aside by the State treasurer for the use of the county 
schools only. 

Moving forward the dates of apportionment seemed to help the 
county tax collector in making payment and the county superintend- 
ent in apportioning funds to the districts. It helped forward also 
decentralization ; the whole of the poll and special tax and 90 per cent 
of the general apportionment now became a purely county fund and 
so was '^exempted from the habitual misapphcation/' by either 
State or county treasurer, for it sometimes happened when the latter 
was custodian of the school funds 'Hhat the warrants of the county 
superintendents to teachers were not promptly paid on presentation 
as they should have been.'' 

This new arrangement went back to the law of 1856, which had 
been in force till after the organization of the schools in 1868. As a 
further amendment of the law the superintendent strongly urged 
that the whole sum apportioned to the county be certified and not 
90 per cent, for — 

the whole amount of the school fund is known before the apportionment is made, 
and the exact amount which each county will be entitled to is known as soon as the 
apportionment is made. 

The superintendent wrote encouragingly of the influence and effects 
of the laws of the board — 

regulating the schools and the disbursement of the funds. '^ The principal improve- 
ments are those which restrain trustees from making contracts for or opening schools 
until after they have received notice of the amount to which their township, and each 
race therein, will be entitled for the year, prohibiting the establishment of more than 
one school for each $100 apportioned to the particular race in the township, unless 
the fund is supplemented by the patrons so as to provide at least $100 for each school; 
compelling all schools to which as much as $100 is appropriated to be kept in operation 
for at least 20 weeks. 

Schools which had less than $100 were to last 12 wecKs, and teachers 
were to be paid monthly under penalty. 
The superintendent says : 

This provision has caused many patrons who desired to have schools in their imme- 
diate neighborhoods to supplement the public fund, and thus to multiply the schools. 
In fact in almost every county in the State, the fund for white schools has been, to 
some extent, supplemented by the patrons. * * "^ This compulsory term of 
five months has also prevented the public schools from being degraded into mere 
summer schools, taught in the vacation season of private schools, and with a view 
principally to absorb the public fund, and avoid the competition with those schools. 
* * * Even now, in some of our cities the graded public schools are considered the 
best therein; and those cities where such schools have been in operation for some 
years, I am satisfied, could not be induced to abolish them, even if they should be 
compelled to sustain them solely by municipal taxation. 

1 See board of education law of Dec. 10, 1874. 


But Supt. McKleroy was not without his troubles, and the line of 
attack was the same as in earlier days — the county superintendency. 
The reason was also the hoary one which had done service in ante 
belluni days — economy in administration. This reason has done 
service in States other than Alabama; and the arguments used to 
meet the attack are the same as those of other days, abundantly 
reinforced by citations from the experience and arguments of earlier 
superintendents, from the days of Perry to those of Speed. Against 
the investment of money in the public schools themselves there was 
no outcry, but the idea seems to have been that the system should 
have been self-executing, and that little or nothing should have been 
expended for the administration of the law. Even the poor salary 
of the clerk in the office of the State superintendent and that of the 
superintendent himself were seemingly begrudged, while all sorts of 
schemes were proposed by which the work of the county super- 
intendents might be performed without cost to the State. It is 
strange that people who were accustomed to pay for superintendence 
in business affairs were so slow to place education on as high a plane. 
One argument against county superintendents was that they were 
incompetent. To this the superintendent replied: 

A prime difficulty in securing competent county superintendents in all the counties 
arises from the fact that the compensation of these offices, as now. fixed by law, is so 
small. It is not enough to enable them to devote their whole time and attention to 
the office, and they must therefore, from necessity, pursue other vocations as well. 

The average salary of county superintendents in 1874-75 was only 
$436.96 and the total amount expended during the year for this work 
was $30,587.28. Individual salaries had ranged in 1870 from $2,000 
per year in Dallas, Mobile, and Montgomery, down to $437.50 in 
Covington. In 1871, after the Conservatives came into power, these 
salaries were revised downward and varied from $1,674.21 in Mobile 
to $300 in Baldwin and seven other counties. In 1874-75 the highest 
superintendent's salary was $2,810.75, in Mobile; the lowest, $300. 

There were three normal schools in successful operation for the 
year, one for white teachers and two for colored. They were each 
well attended and were doing good work. 

The apportioned fund for the year was $549,814.09 ; the school pop- 
ulation was 406,270; the enrollment, 145,797; the average length of 
the term was 86 days; the number of teachers, 3,961; the average 
pay per month was $27.20 and the average cost per pupil per month 
was 83 cents. 

It would appear then that during the year 1874-75 the schools 
were fast getting on their feet again; they were finding themselves 
in a financial sense, and this was helping them rapidly forward. 

In January and March, 1875, the general assembly had felt it 
necessary to provide against embezzlement of school funds and to 


require, tinder severe penalty, that tax collectors pay to the county 
superintendent 'Hhe identical money, currency, or obligation received 
by them for taxes from the taxpayers." The purpose of these acts 
was plainly to prevent thrifty and unscrupulous collectors from pay- 
ing over to the school funds bad money in place of the good money 
received by them. Under this law it was no longer possible for 
collectors to speculate to the disadvantage of the teacher. 

Another law passed March 8, 1875, was not so favorable. This 
revised the code and cut the rate of interest on the sixteenth section 
funds from 8 per cent to 4 per cent, while that on the surplus revenue 
was not mentioned. The result was that, while the school had 
received more than $200,000 from these three sources in 1874-75, 
they would receive in 1875-76 only $73,663.35.^ It was explained 
that since the State under the constitution was already giving one- 
fifth of her income to the schools, the old rate of interest made it 
undertake more than it could well perform. This was blow number 

Blow number two was still more severe. The new constitution 
was adopted on December 6, 1875, two months after the beginning 
of the school year, and after the regular fall apportionment had been 
made to the counties. This new constitution abandoned the one- 
fifth requirement for the schools, and, under the interpretation of the 
attorney general and against the protest of the State superintendent, 
this was declared retroactive for the year 1875-76. 

In this way the act of March 8 and the new constitution gave a 
heavy setback to the schools. In 1874-75 their income had been 
$565,042.94. In 1875-76 it was only $351,496.64, made up as 
follows : 

From sixteenth section funds, at 4 per cent |69, 779. 70 

From valueless sixteenth section funds, at 4 per cent 3, 883. 65 

From surplus revenue funds, at 4 per cent 26, 763. 47 

From special appropriation under the new constitution 150, 000. 00 

From poll tax 96, 414. 39 

From miscellanies, balance, etc 4, 655. 43 

Total 351, 496. 64 

Of this sum there was apportioned to the schools $337,276.33; 
$8,000 went to the normal schools, while $6,150, including the expenses 
of the superintendent's office, went for miscellanies. 

The reports for the year were very imperfect; only 51 counties 
were heard from. In these 51 counties there were 3,088 schools 
in 1875-76, as against 3,211 for the previous year; there were 104,414 
children enrolled, as against 118,252; and the length of the school 
term was 80 days as against 86 days. Further than this, there was 

1 See report 1874-75, p. 41. The law of Mar. 8, 1875, provides no interest on the Surplus Revenue fund 
of 1836, but this was restored by the constitution of the same year. 


long delay in securing the $150,000 direct appropriation provided 
under the new constitution, and some of the schools were not started 
till the spring; but notwithstanding all of these disadvantages the 
gratifying fact developed that — 

the result of the last year's operations, as compared with those of the previous year, 
are not proportionate to the diminution of the fund * * * the system during the 
past year has been even more useful and beneficial to the State than could reasonably 
have been anticipated in view of the decreased school fund and the late period in 
the year before it became available and the schools could be opened. 

To the delay in opening the schools was charged the falling off in 
enrollment, but this in turn — 

at least prevented the origination and accumulation of claims against the school 
fund which in former years so disaffected and discouraged teachers and made the 
system unpopular generally. 

The superintendent urged a closer collection of poll tax and that 
each school district be required to levy and collect "& special tax, 
within proper maximum and minimum limits, for the maintenance 
of its own schools. '' The matter of the county superintendents was 
still an open one. The term of office of all was terminated by law 
on the first Monday in August, 1876; then the salaries were reduced 
and the term of office extended to January 1, 1877. 

The injurious effects of these enactments are already perceptible. Hardly any 
teachers' institutes or conventions have been organized or held during the year, 
and the county superintendents, by reason of their inadequate compensation and 
uncertain tenure of office, have almost invariably suspended visitation of the schools. 
Several * * * have resigned, and others have only been induced to hold on to 
await the action of the general assembly on the subject. 

A fairly accurate picture of the schools in 1874-75 may be secured 
from the reports of the county superintendents. From these it is 
evident that they were gaining in popularity and were strengthening 
their hold on popular favor, but it was still thought that too much 
of the public money was going for superintendence and administra- 
tion — a feeling which came near being disastrous in 1876. School- 
houses were still very inferior; most of them were private property, 
with little or no furniture. The public was either unwilling or unable 
to build houses, and instead borrowed the use of churches, discarded 
log houses, or school buildings erected by private enterprise. In 
some sections attendance was still poor, due to indifference rather 
than hostihty, and among the negroes to frequent changes of resi- 
dence. The county schools were numerous, and frequently had 
fewer pupils than they could accommodate, because of local jealousies 
and the desire of every man to have a school at his own door. The 
same spirit prompted trustees to start rural schools within walking 
distance of each other and to use each a few months rather than 
consolidate and run one for double the time. The principle of 


social solidarity had not developed; each community was sufficient 
in itself and generally a law unto itself; few were willing to increase 
the length of term by a levy of taxes or by voluntary subscriptions. 

But notwithstanding all these adverse conditions the schools 
were gaining in strength and influence. The people of Alabama 
had never been opposed to the system per se. In ante bellum 
days they may have been indifferent, but this feeling was melting 
before the rays of knowledge. They opposed those who took over 
the system in 1868, but when they again secured control of the State 
government they did not overthrow the work of the former regime; 
they did, however, change the direction of its energies; they extended 
its scope, welcomed it as an ally, and sent their best citizens even 
into the negro schools, which a few years earlier would have meant 
social ostracism.^ They were still troubled with the debts created in 
earlier years, by a depreciated State currency, and by a lack of cash. 
Teachers still had to discount their warrants, in some cases as much 
as 50 per cent, but the finances of the State rapidly improved under 
the administration of the Conservatives, and not only did they in- 
crease enrollment, attendance, length of school term, and number 
of teachers, but in 1875 they had established one normal school for 
whites with an income of $5,000 and two for negroes with the same 

A just estimate of the work of the people of the State for the 
years between November, 1870, and December, 1875, compels the 
fair-minded critic to say that while the amount devoted to educa- 
tion was small, it was perhaps as much as the people could be ex- 
pected to give. It should be remembered also that progress in 
education can never come from the fiat of a man at the top, but 
must be an evolution that carries the people with it. 

The schools of Alabama were never out of the hands of natives 
as completely as were those of some other Southern States. The 
constitution of 1868 introduced some foreign elements and ideas, 
but every change tended back toward the ante bellum norm, and it 
seems correct to say that the Alabama system of public education 
has grown out of the actual experiences of the people of the State. 

The administration of Supt. McKleroy may be characterized as a 
period of intense shock; had not the schools been in the hands of 
some of the best people, they would hardly have stood the strain. As 
it was, the superintendent was able to hold the schools steady. No 
progress could be expected in the face of such loss of income as the 
schools suffered in 1875, but there was much less loss of prestige than 
might have been expected, and as a result, after the force of the finan- 
cial loss was spent, after the political problems of reconstruction were 

1 Superintendent's report, 1874-75, p. 105. 



settled, after the schools had been again able to find themselves, 

they were ready to enter upon an untrammeled course of development. 

Supt. McKleroy, in his final report, dated November 9, 1876, 

summarizing the situation for the two years of his administration, 

says : 

In that period great advancement and improvement has been made. The principle 
of the power and propriety of a State to maintain a system of free public education 
has been affirmed in unmistakable terms by the people of this State, and they have 
implanted it in the constitution made by themselves, and in the same instrument 
they have made liberal provisions for its support, thus guaranteeing its permanency 
and usefulness. 

And this statement, with many confessions of weakness, with 
many caveats and supplementary pleadings, may briefly characterize 
the educational history of this State during the period that tried 
men's souls as by fire. 

75075°— 15 8 

Chapter IX. 


The new constitution of Alabama, formed by convention Sep- 
tember 6 to October 2, 1875, ratified by popular vote November 16, 
going into operation December 6, 1875, represents the reaction 
from reconstruction. It was the culmination of an eight-year struggle 
for self-government which had absorbed the greater part of the life 
and public energies of the State. If Httle was accomplished during 
this period in the way of educational progress it was because aU 
energies were absorbed in the greater question of political autonomy. 
What was education to men struggling for political existence ? What 
was education without hberty ? 

The question of the autonomy of the South had been settled by 
1875, and the constitution of that year may therefore be taken to 
represent the ideas of the native population on education. The 
careful student will recognize at once the close relationship of the 
educational provisions of the constitution of 1875, and the laws 
based on it, to those in force prior to 1861. The constitution of 1868 
and the reconstructionists did little for education in Alabama. There 
is no ground for the claim that reconstruction or the Freedman's 
Bureau founded (or even substantially advanced) the cause of public 
education in that State. ^ 

Article 12 of the constitution of 1875 deals with education. The 
marked change from the constitution of 1868 was the disappearance 
of the State board of education. That anomalous board had long 
been doomed. It now disappeared. 

In other respects there was little radical change. The new con- 
stitution provided that the assembly ^^shaU establish, organize, and 
maintain a system of public schools" with an age limit of 7 to 21 
years; coeducation of the races, although no longer possible, was 
formally guarded against by the requirement of separate schools 
for ''the children of citizens of African descent"; the old fiction 
of the perpetual fund was still maintained, and interest on the six- 
teenth section and surplus revenue funds was ordered paid. Nothing 

1 See DuBois, in Atlantic Monthly, March, 1901. 


is said of the valueless sixteenth section fund, but by interpreta- 
tion this was counted as a part of the sixteenth section fund. The 
assembly was to provide for an annual poll tax of $1.50, which was 
to be used for ^'public schools in the counties in which it is levied 
and collected'' ^; the assembly was to provide annually, ^'by taxation 
or otherwise," not less than $100,000 for pubhc schools, and this 
sum was to be increased ^ ' as the conditions of the treasury and the 
resources of the State wiU admit." 

The wasting of public money was guarded against by a provision 
that not more than 4 per cent of ^'all moneys raised" or ^'appro- 
priated for the support of public schools" should be expended other- 
wise than for the payment of teachers. A State superintendent was 
bo be elected by the people; no pubhc money could go for sectarian 
schools; the university and the A. and M. College were put each 
under its own board of trustees, who were appointed by the governor. 
The independence of the Mobile County system of schools was recog- 
nized, and there was added a clause which was to be the entering 
wedge for the broader system which has not yet materiahzed in the 

and all special incomes and powers of taxation as now authorized by law for the 
benefit of public schools in said county [of Mobile] shall remain undistm'bed until 
otherwise provided by the general assembly. 

The income under the Constitution, when arranged by its sources, 
was as follows: 

From the State : 

1. Lands from United States, income only to be used. 

2. Gifts from individuals or State and escheats, the principal might be used. 

3. Surplus revenue, sixteenth section and valueless sixteenth section funds 

(paper funds), income to be used; rate of interest fixed by the assembly. 

4. 1100,000 or more appropriated by the assembly. 
From the county: 

1. Poll tax of M$1.50 per poll. 

There was no other suggestion of local tax, nor was it possible to 
levy such tax,^ save in Mobile County, which became for that reason, 
the cynosure of all progressive eyes. Not until the constitution of 
1901 was it possible for the counties to levy directly a 10-cent tax 
(1 miU) for the benefit of schools, and then only by a three-fifths 

Yet, it would be an error to assume that the educational provisions 
of the new constitution were everywhere regarded as indicative of 
progress. Says James SomerviUe, superintendent of Pickens County: 

The most of our people regret the necessity that the legislature * * * felt of 
diminishing the interest on the sixteenth section fund one-half. They also regret the 

1 The reports of the auditor show that for year after year the poll tax was poorly collected. The errors 
and insolvencies were often 50 per cent of the total amount received; in some cases they were actually 
more than the whole. 

2 Attention is called to the act of 1899 levying a general tax of 10 cents for schools, considered in Chapter X. 


necessity that the late convention ■* * * felt of adopting the articles on educa- 
tion; * -s?- * whatever may have been the necessity of this retrograde movement 
in the course of public education, it is deeply to be regretted by all. To educate 
the people should be among the highest aims of a free State that desires to continue 


Such were the provisions of the constitution of 1875, which went 
into effect after the beginning of the school year 1875-76. We have 
already discussed the effects of the interpretation of this constitution 
on the school income for that year. By the beginning of the year 
1876-77 the schools had somewhat readjusted themselves. 

Then came the general school law of February 8, 1877, which went 
into effect October 1, 1877. This law, in general, was not unlike 
earlier educational acts; the rate of interest on the sixteenth section 
and valueless sixteenth-section funds was fixed at 6 per cent and on 
the surplus revenue at 4 per cent; other annual rents, incomes, 
profits, sales, and escheats went to the general fund. The contribu- 
tion by the State was fixed at $130,000. 

The officers of the system were a State superintendent, county 
superintendents, and three trustees in each township or school dis- 
trict. The State superintendent was elected for two years. He was 
an advisory officer with little opportunity for supervision. His duties 
included the apportionment of school funds ^Ho the respective town- 
ships or school districts." In the matter of sixteenth-section funds, 
the principle of distribution first inaugurated by Gen. Perry in 1854 
was again made part of the law. 

The superintendent of education shall first set apart to each township or other 
school district the amount due from the State to each district as interest on its six- 
teenth-section fund or other trust fund held by the State, and all townships or school 
districts which have an income from trust funds in the hands of the State, or from lease 
or sale of their sixteenth-section lands, shall not receive anything out of the balance 
of the educational fund to be apportioned until all other townships or school districts 
having no trust fund, shall have received from the general fund such sum as will give 
them an equal per capita apportionment with the townships or districts having such 
trusts and income. 

It will be seen that by this arrangement the sixteenth-section funds 
were substituted by a per capita distribution; the district which had 
sold its lands to advantage did not receive much more, and the dis- 
trict which had wasted its lands did not receive much less. The 
capital from which this sixteenth-section income was derived was 
paper only. 

The county superintendent was appointed by tne State superin- 
tendent. His duties were mainly financial and not supervisory in 
character. He was the treasurer of the county school funds, paid all 
teachers, made settlements with the tax collectors, made reports to 


the State superintendent, and kept an office at the county seat one 
day in each month. His pay was $75 per year and 1 per cent of his 
disbursements; this might be forfeited by failure to make reports. 

The three local trustees were a law unto themselves; they sold or 
leased school lands, estabhshed schools, hired teachers, visited 
schools, took the school census, from the reports of the teachers 
certified ^^how much is due each scholar for actual attendance," and 
then drew their warrant on the county superintendent ^^in favor of 
each teacher * * * for amount due him on his annual report.'' 
As pay for their high-class, exacting, and important duties, they were 
relieved from road and jury duty. 

It was provided that the whole of the amount apportioned to the 
county by the State superintendent should be certified by the auditor 
on October 10 and paid by the county tax collector to the county 
superintendent. If the amount of school money thus certified was 
more than could be collected m the county, the remainder was paid 
out of the State treasury. It was also provided that funds raised by 
local taxation should be expended in the district where raised, and, 
finally, this law did not apply to cities and towns ^^ which are provided 
for by local school laws.'' All expenses other than those for teachers 
could not exceed 4 per cent of the whole; the poU tax and the whole 
of the county apportionment was collected and spent in the county 
of its origin. The actual money was handled only by the county 
superintendent. The teachers were paid on the basis of attendance. 
The minimum attendance was rigidly fixed by law at 10 pupils, and 
the length of term at 3 months, or 60 days. 

The tendency to create special school districts which developed 
during these years will be discussed later. The law of 1877 was 
superseded by a new codification enacted February 7, 1879. In most 
respects it is similar to the law of 1877, except that tLe school revenue 
is made to include income from unsold lands and license taxes. The 
county superintendent is stiU a financial or disbursing officer, and his 
pay is increased from 1 per cent to 2 per cent; the board of township 
or school district trustees is decreased from 3 persons to 1. His 
duties are essentially the same, but under the new law he was not to 
contract — 

to pay a teacher more per month than one-third of the amount of the district fund set 
apart for the school to be taught by such teacher, nor shall he contract for a school of 
less than three scholastic months, nor less than 10 pupils. 

Nothing was said in the new law about attendance as a basis of pay, 
but reports were more rigidly insisted on under penalty of loss of 
salary which otherwise would be paid quarterly. A new feature in 
the law was the county educational board, consisting of the county 
superintendent and two teachers of the county. They were a county 
examining and hcensing board and were required to organize and 


maintain at least three teachers' institutes during the year. The 
teachers were required to attend at least one, and the board contribu- 
ted its services. Public examinations were to be held in the school 
every year, and there were the elements of a graded system. The 
law provided further that all poll and local taxes should be expended 
in the school district by the race which paid them. 

This is the last general revision of the school laws of Alabama until 
1895, and with this review an examination may be made of what was 
accomphshed during the first years of the restored native adminis- 
tration. Since the adoption of the constitution of 1875 and the read- 
justment which immediately followed, the history of the Alabama 
schools has been uneventful. Yet it presents an interesting story of 
a struggle against poverty that prevented and conservatism that 
delayed the progress most ardently longed for and worked for by 
leaders whose duty it was to guide a people toihng upward through 
the night toward the hght of universal education. 

The successor of John M. McKieroy was Leroy F. Box, a lawyer of 
attainments, who later rose to a seat on the State circuit court bench. 
His administration covers the four years 1876-1880. He pubhshed 
three annual reports, no report being issued for 1876-77, although the 
statistics for that year are included in the report for the next. 

The feature of most importance during these years was^ perhaps, the 
general school laws enacted in 1877 and 1879. It required some time 
and effort for the schools to readjust themselves to the changes then 
inaugurated, but with this exception there was no violent interrup- 
tion during the period. 

The superintendent took particular pride in emphasizing the low- 
ness of cost in the schools. This was only 57 cents per pupil per 
month, or $2.45 per term of 84f days in 1877-78. He emphasized 
this ^^ cheapness of instruction and economy of supervision" as com- 
mendable features of the school system. He pointed out that in these 
respects Alabama surpassed all the other Southern States, and by the 
same token he might have said that here Alabama led the Union. 
His argument proved too much. 

There is in this period, beyond a doubt, a tendency to increase the 
general efficiency of the system. The number of teachers increased, 
as did the total enrollment and average attendance. After 1877-78 
there was a marked movement to reduce the number of schools and 
increase the number of pupils, although the length of the general 
school term was around four months, and there was only the natural 
increase in the revenue, based mostly on the closer collection of poll 
taxes. Some efforts were also made to realize on the old sixteenth- 
section land notes which were still in existence, some of them going 
back to 1837. By compromising some few thousand dollars were 
reahzed, and a very favorable sign was that in 1879-80 pubhc funds 


were being supplemented by private contributions to the extent of 

It would appear that the greatest difficulty in the way of public 
school progress was too much content. Says the superintendent at 
the close of his term of office: 

Our present school system is, in the main, a good one and will compare favorably 
with the systems of other States. It is reasonably adapted to the wants of the people, 
so far as it is practicable to adapt it to the present small appropriation for schools. Yet 
the system can be improved. 

But unfortunately no Southern State with which comparisons are 
here indicated had more than the tentative beginnings of a system, 
and such comparisons served only to lull the ambitious into a false 


Judge Box was succeeded in 1880 by Hon. Henry Clay Armstrong, 
who served as State superintendent from 1880 to 1884. Perhaps the 
most important act concerning the schools in 1880-81 was the one 
giving the county superintendents full power to compromise the old 
sixteenth-section land notes. In this respect fair success was attained 
and a total of $41,529.72 was turned into the permanent fund. The 
custom had been in earher years to use this income for general ex- 
penses; the law of March 1, 1881, required it to be invested in Ala- 
bama 6 per cent bonds, but not till 1882-83 was the law obeyed. In 
that year also the State contribution to the school fund was increased 
from $130,000 to $230,000 per annum, and the effect of this increase 
soon made itself apparent. 

The superintendent advised against sudden or radical changes in 
the school law, and none were enacted. He urged constantly the 
ever-increasing and more pressing need of. money. At the end of the 
period the State was spending some 40 per cent of its total income 
for pubUc schools ; but the constitution forbade that more than 4 per 
cent of the total school fund should be used for any purpose other 
than teachers; and therefore school sites, schoolhouses, and school 
furniture suffered, and the county superintendents were miserably 
underpaid. The superintendent recommended a special tax of 5 
mills, although evidently unconstitutional, to be devoted in part to 
material equipment, and asked that the pay of county superintend- 
ents be increased to $100 and 4 per cent of their disbursements, in- 
stead of $100 and 2 per cent. There was also a marked tendency 
toward centrahzation, for both superintendent and governor recom- 
mended that the county law of April 19, 1873, be repealed and that all 
funds be again gathered into and distributed from the State treasury. 
Certainly the main reason which caused the enactment of the law — 
the fear of misappUcation of these funds — no longer existed. Two 
new normal schools for white teachers were established — those at 


Jacksonville and Liyingston — and the rating on teachers' certificates 
was made more close and accurate. The cost of the schools per pupil 
v/as only about 60 cents per month; the school term still hovered 
around four months; and the total yearly salary of teachers was 
less than $100, although this small stipend was somewhat augmented 
by private contributions and subscriptions among the whites and to 
a very small extent among the negroes. 

The extra contribution of $ 100,000 first made by the State in 
1883-84 was felt that year in an increase of 15,000 in enrollment and 
of 7,000 in average attendance, with nearly 400 new schools and the 
same number of teachers, but since the length of term went up only 
three days and the salary of teachers only $2 per month, we may 
assume that the extra $100,000 went mainly for schools and teachers 
for those who had been without them. This wiU account for the 
increased attendance and shows that the former superintendent was 
right when he said, ''Our greatest need is more money." But the 
assembly was slow to rise to a real appreciation of this need. 

Mr. Armstrong was succeeded as superintendent in 1884 by Hon. 
Solomon Palmer, who was the only one of the post bellum superin- 
tendents to break through the four-year rule of service. He served 
for six years, and during his term of office the schools enjoyed a fair 
degree of progress,' the matters of preeminent importance being 
money and teacher training. 

The system ''is now regarded as essential to the prosperity of the 
State," said Mr. Palmer when he took office. This was true, and yet 
it was true only in the sense that there was no longer hostiUty to the 
schools. But the schools still encountered indifference on the part 
of the ruhng classes, who beheved that a great system could be 
developed with totally inadequate resources and an indifference on 
the part of the lower classes, who neglected to make use of the advan- 
tages offered. What impression on the mass of ignorant and indiffer- 
ent illiterates could schools make that ran for three months in the 
year, with only 55 per cent of the children enrolled, with an average 
attendance of 33 per cent, with $20 to $22 as the average pay of the 
teachers per month, and with only 50 to 60 cents available per school 
child per month ? It was, indeed, a disheartening prospect, and brave 
were the men who were wilhng to bear the burden of the public 
school system. 

The main trouble was well known, and yet the educational authori- 
ties hesitated to speak freely. There was, however, at least one 
teacher in the State who analyzed the situation, and whether inspired 
or not, was bold enough to state the symptoms and prescribe the 


J. N. Slaughter, of Rockford, Ala., speaking before the Alabama 
Educational Association in 1885, protested against selecting '^ State 
and county superintendents from among lawyers and politicians," 
and writing in the Alabama Teachers' Journal, for January, 1886, 

There have been absolutely free schools in the reach of the people in Alabama for 
31 years with only short intervals, and yet illiteracy is on the increase among the 
whites at the rate of 2.5 times faster than the population. The free school is at their 
doors, and yet they do not enter. Place a schoolhouse at the door of each of those 
30,000 of illiterate householders, with free tuition and option to send, and but a small 
per cent of increase would be enrolled, and few of these would learn to read. * * * 
There is a remedy. Change the constitutional age from the present limit to 5 to 15 
years. Make attendance froin 7 to 9 and from 13 to 15 years compulsory for four months 
in the year. Establish regular normal institutes in each county and make attendance 
at these institutes compulsory. 

It may be objected that Mr. Slaughter's history was not accurate, 
nor his statistics exact. Such objections may be granted, yet the 
statistics ol enro'ilment and attendance show that he was not wide of 
the mark. As for his remedy — the time for that was not yet. 

The first, greatest, and most insistent demand of Maj. Palmer and 
his supporters was for more money. During the six years of his ad- 
ministration the State appropriation for schools rose from $230,000 
in 1884-85 to $350,000 in 1889-90; the poll tax, by reason of greater 
care in collecting, increased from $138,000 to $150,000. The total 
increase was from about $511,000 to about $850,000, but on the other 
hand, school population increased from 420,413 to 522,691; so the 
per capita increase was only from $1.22 to $1.63. The authorities 
even did not appreciate the situation, for while the superintendent 
was pleading eloquently for a larger share of the surplus piling up 
in the treasury, the treasurer was recommending that the general 
tax rate should be reduced by 10 per cent. 

The State was then expending about one-third of its income on 
schools, but this sum was clearly insufficient, and there seemed little 
hope of substantial increase. The amount from the State depended 
on the will of the assembly as well as the condition of the treasury; 
the income from the perpetual fund was fixed by law; the income 
from poll tax was greatly reduced by poor collections, especially 
among the negroes; and what might have been the fruitful source of 
local taxation was so hedged about by constitutional limitations as 
to be of little value. 

The Alabama Educational Association was already discussing and 
advocating local taxation and the authorities were still seeking to 
equalize to all of the counties the sums derived by the richer ones 
from sixteenth section funds. The interest now paid on these funds 
was 4 per cent, and the difference between counties which had large 
funds and those which had small funds was as usual equalized out of 
State taxes. 


It will be recalled that the city of Mobile had been organized as a 
special or separate school district as early as 1826; that under the 
constitution of 1875 it was placed in a class by itself and all of its 
"special incomes and powers of taxation'' recognized and affirmed 
until changed by the assembly; that this power of local taxation for 
schools given to Mobile by the constitution of 1875 was apparently 
given to no other. But other local systems were from time to time 
also provided by law for Montgomery, Sehna, Huntsville, Eufaula, 
Birmingham, Opelika, Dadeville, Oxmoor, and Marion. These acts 
produced little more than convenience in administration. They 
estabhshed school districts with boundaries coterminous with those 
of the municipalities. Their school income was their pro rata share 
of county funds, increased perhaps by appropriations from general 
municipal funds. In only one case was authority given to levy a tax. 
The act creating the school district of Oxmoor (passed Feb. 9, 1877) 
provides : 

The trustees, and their successors in office, shall have the power to levy a tax on 
all property, both real and personal, within the bounds of such school district not to 
exceed half of 1 per cent for school purposes; and for the first and second years, half 
of 1 per cent for building purposes.^ 

There was little of this special school legislation in 1879 and 1881. 
In 1883 various acts of the kind were passed, some with, some with- 
out, the power of local taxation. Among the former were acts incor- 
porating the Peabody district in Kussell County, and Decatur district, 
each of which was empowered to levy a 5-mill tax, and in addition 
Decatur might '^for the first and second years" levy ^^ one-half of 1 
per cent for building purposes." In 1885 Blountsville, Prattville, 
and Cullman were authorized to levy 5 mills, reduced in 1887 in case 
of CuUman to 2.5 mills, and Tuscaloosa 2.5 mills; in 1887 Opelika 
andUniontown were permitted to levy 5 mills; Troy and Tuscaloosa, 
2.5 mills; Birmingham, 1.5 mills. 

The unconstitutionality of these acts is so manifest that it would 
seem they were intended to force an issue in the courts. Such an 
issue soon caxne. The authorities of Cullman levied the tax. There 
was objection, and the case reached the supreme court as Shultes v. 
Eberly, and was decided against the power to tax. The question at 
issue, as considered by the judges, was '^ whether, under the State 
constitution, it is competent for the legislature to delegate to the 
trustees the power to tax." The court then proceeds to limit the 
question at issue by saying : 

We have thus limited the question, as we do not wish what may be said to be under- 
stood as applicable to school districts created within the corporate limits of a municipal 
corporation, where the power to tax resides in the municipal authorities, and is not 
in excess of the constitutional limitation. 

1 See School Laws, 1878, p. 46; reenacted in 1887, Laws of 1886-87, p. 1031. 


The court declared that municipal corporations, including counties, 
are the only corporations under the constitution to whom the 
assembly may delegate its powers to tax; as this separate school 
district was in no sense a municipal corporation the act was unconsti- 

By the same token it would appear that the cities might levy 
school taxes, and that the acts passed in 1887 and earlier for incor- 
porated towns were constitutional. Nevertheless the attempt to 
avail themselves of this interpretation met with disaster. Under 
a law passed February 18, 1895, the city of Birmingham attempted 
to collect a special tax for schools. It was already collecting a 
municipal tax of 50 cents on the hundred, which was the constitu- 
tional limit, and for this reason the law provided that the school tax 
should be levied ^^on the same lists with other State taxes, '^ and it 
was provided further — 

that whenever the tax levied by the State shall exceed 55 cents on every $100 of 
taxable property, then the tax hereby levied shall be diminished to that rate which, 
added to the rate levied by the State, shall not exceed 75 cents on every ^100 worth of 
taxable property, the limit fixed by the constitution [for State taxation].^ 

Stripped of verbiage this act simply meant that the city of Bir- 
mingham, having already levied the 50 cents per hundred allowed for 
municipal taxation and desiring to raise more money for schools, 
undertook to shift this extra tax from the city to the State lists. 

Says the supreme court decision: 

It was supposed * * * that this constitutional inhibition might be legally 
avoided by providing that the State should levy and collect the tax and pay the same 
over to the treasurer of the board of education. 

Some taxes were paid under this act, but an appeal was made to 
the courts, and the case came up as State of Alabama v. Southern 
Railway (115 Ala., 250), with the result that the contentions of the 
State were defeated. In the first place the act was declared uncon- 
stitutional because it contained legislation on more than one subject 
which was not ''clearly expressed in its title," and so violated section 
2, Article IV of the constitution. 

In effect the court declared it a municipal tax, and therefore violat- 
ing Article X, section 7, of the constitution. If this act were allowed 
to stand — 

it would effectually emasculate this constitutional prohibition. It would sanction 
the levy of a tax by the State for the purpose of public education in the city, which 
the city itself is prohibited by the constitution from levying and collecting, and 
which, if sanctioned as to one city might be extended to every other locality in the 
State, in overthrow of this fundamental law. It would allow a thing to be done in- 
directly which is forbidden to be directly done. 

1 82 Ala. Reports, 242. 2 Session law 1894-95, pp. 738-740. 


In commenting on this decision Dr. J. H. Phillips, superintendent 
of schools in Birmingham, says, in a recent letter: 

Several of these cities attempted to collect the local tax. The city of Birmingham 
did collect several thousand dollars. This fund was paid under protest, pending a 
decision in the courts, which of course was adverse, following the principle enunciated 
in the Cullman case. No local taxes for schools were successfully collected under the 
constitution of 1875. 

And yet it does not appear that the courts ever passed on the direct 
question, either under the constitution of 1875 or of 1901, whether 
a city might not collect taxes directly for schools if it kept within 
the constitutional limit of 50 cents on the hundred allowed for muni- 
cipal taxation. The cities have at any rate found it easier to get 
their money for schools under their general powers to tax. 

From this time the separate school districts, including those to 
which the right to tax Was granted in the special acts, obtained 
indirectly what they could not obtain directly. Under the constitu- 
tion the counties might levy 50 cents per hundred for county pur- 
poses; in the same Way municipal corporations might levy 50 cents 
per hundred for town purposes, but in the eyes of the constitution the 
separate school district had no standing; therefore the cities taxed 
themselves as municipalities, and as such assigned a part of the pro- 
ceeds of these taxes to themselves as school districts. Unfortunately, 
however, miscellaneous demands were so heavy that little was some- 
times left for the schools. Their reports to the State superintendent 
generally show a part of their school funds as coming from '^ appro- 
priations by the district'' or ''appropriations by the city," seldom 
from direct taxation for schools. In this way, by this legal fiction, 
the cities and towns have been enabled to develop their schools, and 
they have thus made possible a school development in the cities alto- 
gether creditable. In 1887-88 the funds thus raised for schools in the 
districts were more than $174,000; in 1889-90 they were estimated at 
more than $200,000. With 1886-87 Maj . Palmer separated the reports 
of city and special school districts from those for country schools. 
The former could now begin to stand alone; the latter still needed sup- 
port. This will explain the apparent shortening of the school term 
in 1886-87 to 70.5 days, as compared with the 87.25 days of 1885-86. 
The later year included only the country schools; the earlier year 
covered all schools and showed that the city schools had attained a 
school term (in 1887-88) of 180 days for both white and negro schools 
in Birmingham; 170 in Montgomery, Selma, and Huntsville; 160 in 
Tuscaloosa; 181 for whites and 204 for negroes in Eufaula; 200 for 
both in Decatm-; 180 and 160 in Troy; 170 and 140 in Opelika; 120 
in Brownville; 190 in Cullman; 178 and 163 in Prattville; 180 and 145 
in Uniontown. The trouble was that these special districts served 
only a small part of the population. In 1888-89 only 17 such special 


districts, not including Mobile, reported to the State superintendent. 
Of these 17 districts, 12 reported a school population of 14,261 white 
and 15,055 negro children; the enrollment was 5,444 and 3,718, 
respectively; the average attendance about 3,929 and 2,281, respec- 
tively. These figures are themselves sufhciently luminous. In none 
of these places does the school term seem to have been less than 160 
days ; in one it went to 200, and yet the enrollment on school popula- 
tion was only 31 per cent and the average attendance was only 20 
per cent. It is evident that these schools needed something besides 

During this period educational consciousness began to manifest 
itself in the better organization of teachers into associations. State 
and local, white and colored. These bodies held annual meetings, 
and, though poorly attended and treated with indifference by some 
of the higher educational institutions, preserved the even tenor 
of their way, discussed the problems of their profession, and em- 
phasized and strengthened the demand of the State superintendent 
for more money. Teachers' institutes and reading circles were 
inaugurated while the professional and technical sides of the teachers' 
work were being examined and studied in the State normal schools, 
of which two more were organized for whites. At the end of Maj. 
Palmer's administration there were normal schools for the training 
of white teachers at Florence, Livingston, Troy, Jacksonville; and 
for colored teachers at Huntsville, Tuskegee, and Montgomery. 
These received their support mainly from the State, except Tuskegee 
(which even then was drawing on the philanthropy of the North), 
and to each the Peabody fund made appreciated and appreciable 
contributions, amounting in 1889-90 to $3,800 for the seven schools. 
The normal institutes, of which two were held in 1889-90, were sup- 
ported by the Peabody fund and were intended to arouse the people 
to the need of better teachers and better schools. They were intended 
for that class of teachers who could not attend normal schools and 
they offered courses extending from two to five years. The congres- 
sional institutes, organized, as the name implies, in the congressional 
districts, were intended to meet the needs of still another class of 
teachers, and the teachers' reading circles were to encourage home 
reading. The elementary character of this work is indicated by the 
books recommended for study: Barnes's General History, Page's 
Theory and Practice of Teaching, Watts on the Improvement of the 
Mind, Hawthorne's Literature. It was necessary to lay, first, a 
cultural basis, on which something of a professional superstructure 
might be reared. The professional spirit was hindered, no doubt, by 
the failure to grade salaries as well as certificates. 

There was also the beginning of an educational press. In 1882 
and 1883 the Alabama Progress, published in Montgomery, had 


advocated education, prohibition, and kindred subjects. Then came 
the Alabama Teachers' Journal in 1886, published first in Hunts- 
ville, later in Montgomery. As its name implies, it was distinctly 
educational and served as an organ for the teachers of the State. 

During this period, also, the graded-school idea began to make 
progress, especially in the separate or special school districts, which 
were now leading the State, both in the quantity and quality of their 

Grading pupils brought up the question of textbooks, which was 
a serious one. The superintendent discussed a State or county sys- 
tem to prevent the numerous changes and multitudinous variations 
that afflicted teachers and drained the purses of parents, but the 
conservatism of the State and the spirit of local independence pre- 
vented rapid progress. There was some discussion, also, of a flexible 
course of study for the ''ungraded country schools.'' 

Other needs of the schools were better schoolhouses — for under 
the law no public money could be devoted to the erection or repair of 
buildings, or for furniture — longer terms, and better teachers. The sys- 
tem as a whole needed toning up, but to do this required money. This 
could be secured only by taxation, and to tax required an amendment 
to the constitution. To secure this required a long, slow process of 
education penetrating every section of the State, illuminating every 
corner, and enlightening every voter. With reconstruction before 
their eyes, the constitution makers of 1875 had been careful to 
hedge severely about the taxing power. Now that reconstruction 
was passed and the State restored to its normal self, they found 
these limitations a stumbling block on progress, which might be 
removed only when all advocates of education should work in 

Private schools were still of considerable importance in the State; 
private contributions and subscriptions served to lengthen percep- 
tibly the public term; and on these sources the public had to depend 
entirely for the erection and maintenance of schoolhouses, except in 
the separate school districts and cities, where this want was met by 
appropriations from municipal funds or by the issue of school bonds. 
The State superintendent advocated a general 3-mill tax and a 5-mill 
tax in the special districts. The cry was for more money, and with 
this it was thought all other good things would come to the schools. 
The question was no longer whether there should be public schools, 
but whether they should be in accord with the demand of the times. 
The report of the superintendent showed that the demand for im- 
provement was based on a real necessity, since comparison of school 
accomplishments in Alabama with those of other Southern States 
showed up to the serious disadvantage of the former. 


There was during the period no very material change in the school 
law, other than that regulating the school funds. By an act which 
went into effect October 1, 1887, these were again gathered into the 
State treasury, from which they were paid out to the teachers quar- 
terly through the county superintendent. They had, under the law 
of April 19, 1873, been left in the counties to avoid their misapplica- 
tion by the State authorities. They were now brought back to the 
State treasury to secure a greater contrahzation and a better account- 
ing. The law covered all funds devoted to school uses. 

Taken as a whole, this administration may be characterized as one 
of slow but steady progress upward. The class consciousness of 
teachers was awakening ; there was more unity and harmony in their 
work; their influence was widening; and the cities were beginning 
to show, by extending and liberalizing their courses, the direct bear- 
ing of education on life. The causes of friction were being eliminated, 
and all parties were working toward an extension of the constitutional 
privilege of local taxation — -the one thing most needed before there 
could be steady progress. 


Maj. Palmer was succeeded December 1, 1890, by Maj. John G. 
Harris, who served as State superintendent for four years, and issued 
three reports, two annual and one biennial. The educational event 
of the administration was the fight for what was known as the 
Hundley constitutional amendment. This was proposed by a joint 
resolution of the two houses of the assembly at the session of 1892-93 
and provided that the assembly might — ■ 

confer upon the trustees of the school districts in this State the power to levy within 
their districts a special tax of not more than one-fourth of 1 per cent [2.5 mills], to be 
applied exclusively to maintaining the public schools in the districts in which said 
tax is levied. 

It provided further that each race might receive back the propor- 
tion of taxes paid by it, but this provision was not compulsory. It 
was provided that this amendment should be voted on at the gen- 
eral election for representatives on August 6, 1894, and the activi- 
ties of the department were shaped toward securing this result. In 
1893 Supt. Harris organized an educational campaign, pubHshed a 
letter to the people of the State and showed that the weakness of the 
school system might be easily corrected by legislation; with ^^more 
money, longer school period, more trained teachers, and better school- 
houses," the schools would ^^soon be in the forefront of progress." 
The United States Commissioner of Education commended his zeal, 
applauded his efforts, and lent the weight of Federal influence. But 
all of this was rather in the interest of general education than of the 


amendment in particular. In fact, judging from what little expres- 
sion is found in official or semiofficial school organs, the school men 
were only lukewarm in its favor, A correspondent in the Educa- 
tional Exchange declared that it was not so much money that was 
needed as local supervision, and he insisted that $75,000 taken out 
of the school fund and devoted to county supervision would produce 
better results than the whole was then doing; another said that, 
while $600,000 was the annual State expenditure, hardly more than 
$200,000 was well used. The main force urging the amendment was 
the county superintendents. They organized themselves into a 
"Campaign board of education" for the summer of 1894, and held 
many pubhc meetings, made many addresses, and strove to awaken 
the people to the opportunity. The State teachers' association said 
the proposed amendment was "a measure of great importance to all 
the people of the State and to the cause of pubhc education in par- 
ticular." They pointed out the fact that in all the States which had 
an adequate school fund the bulk of it was secured through local 
taxation, and after citing the right of local taxation in cities and 
towns under the constitution because they were municipal corpo- 
rations, denied that there was a "vahd reason why corporations 
should enjoy the privilege of local taxation because they are cities 
or towns and the same right be denied to rural districts because they 
are not corporations." 

The Hon. J. L. M. Curry, agent of the Peabody fund, addressed an 
eloquent letter to the candidates for governor on the Democratic and 
Popuhst tickets, the burden of which was local taxation, the issue 
being in his opinion '^more paramount than are the issues. Federal 
'^and State, which divide parties, local and national." He points out 
that the school term in Alabama was 73 days, and that 41 per cent 
of the population was iffiterate in 1890, and adds: 

This beggarly array does not fill up the dark outlines. These short schools are in 
many cases inefficient and inadequate, and the graduates of high schools even are 
three years behind the German graduates in the amount of knowledge acquired and 
in mental development. This inferiority is largely attributable to the shorter terms 
of school years, to the want of professional teachers, and to the small enrollment 
* * *. Rotation in office, narrow partisanship, inefficiency are the direct fruits of 
makingschoolofficesnotplacesof trust, but spoils of political victory ^ * ^. The 
State superintendent should remain in office long enough to be thoroughly familiar 
with the duties of his exalted position, and should be an expert capable of advising 
executive and legislature, and school officers and teachers, and in full intelligent 
sympathy with the educational problems * * *. Perhaps the argument most 
Hkely to reach the general pubHc is the close relation between public free schools 
and the increased productive powers of labor and enterprise * * *. Education 
creates new wealth, develops new and untold treasures, increases the growth of 
intellect, gives directive power and the power of self-help * * *. The schools m 
Alabama are handicapped by a clause in the constitution limiting local taxation to 
an extremely low figure. If by general agreement among the friends of education 


the removal of this restriction could be separated from party politics, and local taxa- 
tion could be brought to the support of schools, there would soon be an era of edu- 
cational and material prosperity.^ 

By common consent the school amendment was not made an 
issue in this hotly contested campaign, for most of the leaders on 
both sides, including Col. William C. Gates, the Democratic, and 
Capt. Reuben F. Kolb, the Popuhst candidate, were generally favor- 
able to its passage. Possible hostihty for the fear that the property- 
less might avail themselves of the opportunity to levy educational 
taxes on the rich was disarmed in advance by the requirement of a 
local vote for the enactment of the law; the fear that negroes might 
get too much was met by the provision that each race might, if it was 
so desired, receive what it paid. The amendment at best was merely 

In perfect fairness, it can only be said that the support of the 
school authorities was little more than perfunctory. Certainly their 
grief over defeat was not profound. But the amendment had strong 
friends. Hon. Solomon Palmer was one, and Dr. James K. Powers 
was another. The latter was chairman of the ^^ Campaign board of 
education"; he sought to organize the teachers; he spoke and wrote 
in its advocacy, even calling the school children to his aid by writing 
argumentative declamations for their use ; he declared that schools 
would be at a standstill without it and became so enthusiastic that 
he said never before had ^^so much interest" been shown in an 
educational measure; he even prophesied its success at the polls. 
Another enthusiast appealed to metaphor and characterized the 
amendment as a '^hon of learning." 

But the chief support of the measure came from the editors rather 
than the teachers. They alone appear to have grasped its signifi- 
cance. One Birmingham editor said it was '^ the biggest thing since 
the war, in Alabama." 

The Birmingham Age-Herald was frank in its review of the general 
school situation : 

All this talk about Alabama's splendid public-school system is rot. Outside of a 
few of the larg3r towns, she lias the very poorest school system and spends less money 
than any State in the Union. She is at the bottom of the list of 44 States. Her only 
hope to pull up is in the school amendment. (Aug. 1.) 

In an ironical review it suggested that aboHtion of the schools was 
the easiest way to cut down expenses in Birmingham, and remarked, 
*' Our people are asleep on the great question of education" (Aug. 4). 
On the day before election it said : 

Rising above all partisan considerations in this campaign, fixed in the pure air of 
patriotism, love of our homes and our children, is the proposed school amendment.'' 

1 Letter in Report of Commissioner of Education, 1894-95, p. 1277. 
75075°— 15 9 


And again: 

Of all the 44 States in the Union, Alabama is the only one that doesn't have local 
taxation. (Aug. 5.) 

'^Cast a ballot for the Hundley amendment and have posterity to 
bless your memory/' said the Greenville Advocate. 

Other supporters of the measure were the Huntsville Argus, the 
Hefiin New Era, the Cherokee Sentinel (Populist) , and the Gadsden 
[ But the amendment met with an overwhelming defeat. The 

constitution required that an amendment to it should receive a 
majority of the whole vote cast. In Jefferson County 9,156 votes 
were cast for Gates and Kolb, and 3,519 for the amendment; no one 
there thought it worth while to vote against the measure. In Mobile 
County there were 4,049 votes for Gates and Kolb, 877 for and 834 
against the amendment. In Bullock County the vote for the amend- 
ment was 1,917 out of 2,619, this being possibly the largest majority 
in its favor in any county in the State. 

Hon. Gscar H. Hundley, the author of the amendment, was beaten 
but not cast down. He had worked for six years to get this bill 
through the assembly; he would try again. 

The Age-Herald was chagrined and spoke plainly. 

In the fight just closed the cowardly politicians held back and dodged. Even 
the friends of education were — some of them — browbeaten into silence lest speech 
might lose a vote. (Aug. 11.) 

The Educational Exchange admitted that there had been neither 
marked hostility nor enthusiastic support: 

There was no virulent opposition — there was no organized antagonism. * * * 
The sporadic attacks upon it were not of sufficient force to provoke an aggressive policy 
in its behalf. The measure died of indifference; died in the camp of its friends, the 
most cruel and ignominious fate that could have befallen it. 

Beyond this preliminary fight to secure a more liberal clause in 
the constitution in the matter of local taxation for schools, there 
was little of moment in the period. The printed reports were brief 
and imperfect; the statistics were less in amount than usual, more 
incomplete, and practically worthless. 

There were, however, some elements of progress: 

1. The growing usefulness of the local and congressional institutes, 
which were increasing in numbers and in attendance. It was pro- 
posed to make the attendance of teachers on these institutes com- 

2. The law of 1890-91 made some changes in the administrative 
features, among them being a return to three trustees for the town- 
ship in place of the one township superintendent. These trustees 
DOW apportioned the funds of the township to each school as they 


deemed ''fit and equitable/' and this was interpreted as more 
favorable to the whites than the older law had been. 

3. Another law of the session of 1890-91 placed on the market 
some 30,000 acres of ''school indemnity lands/' which had come to 
the State from the Federal Government "on account of swamp and 
overflowed land^, other public lands in Alabama sold or otherwise 
disposed of by the Federal Government" and acquired as a result 
of the State act of February 28, 1887. 

4. In 1892-93 an act was passed establishing an Industrial School 
for White Girls. This was the culmination of various earlier efforts 
but represented a beginning only, $5,000 being appropriated for the 
organization of the school. 

The negro schools in general and the normal schools, white and 
colored, were reported as making good progress, and there was 
more promptness in paying the teachers. The lack of uniform 
textbooks gave trouble as did the question of the third-grade certifi- 
cates. How to find the amount to be apportioned from the poll 
tax was also a problem. This was solved by making the poll tax 
of one year the basis for the next year's apportionment. 

This administration was hampered by an unusually serious indus- 
trial and agricultural depression, by an exceedingly bitter factional 
political fight, with more or less hidden fear of possible advantages 
to the negro, and most of all by indifference. 

Maj. Harris was succeeded by Hon. John O. Turner, of St. Clair 
County, who served for four years, from 1894 to 1898. 

His early work included the codification of the school laws as 
amended and modified by recent assemblies. In its general character 
the new code did not differ from the old, but there was growing during 
this decade a recognition of the increasing ramifications of the public- 
school system. This system no longer included merely teaching of 
the three R's, nor confined itself to the primary and grammar grades, 
as had been the idea a generation before. 

The grades of teacher's certificates were three : For the third grade 
apphcants were to be examined on orthography, reading, penman- 
ship, practical arithmetic through fractions, primary geography, and 
the elementary principles of physiology and hygiene; for the second 
grade, on all the foregoing and on practical arithmetic, history of 
the United States, Enghsh grammar, intermediate geography, and 
elementary algebra; the first grade required, in addition, higher 
algebra, natural philosophy, geometry, and the theory and practice 
of teaching. 

To meet these growing requirements the normal schools had been 
recognized for some years as necessary. Beginning in 1873 they had 
increased in numbers and steadily developed in their scope and field 
of operations. 


This code shows also that the direct bearing of education on life 
was more fully realized. In 1885 the assembly tried the experi- 
ment of establishing branch agricultural experiment stations with 
the location of a school at Uniontown, Perry County; in 1889 and 
1893 others were established at Abbeville and Athens, and by 1895 
six others, making nine in all, had been established in the various 
congressional districts; from merely agricultural experiment stations 
they were now being evolved into agricultural schools and were put 
under the control of actual farmers who were to purchase land and 
provide buildings. Their funds, however, were as yet very limited in 
amount, varying from $2,500 to $3,000. To correspond with this pro- 
vision for boys furnished by the agricultural schools was the Indus- 
trial School for White Girls, first organized under the law of 1892-93 
and located at Montevallo. Up to this time in Alabama as in other 
southern States the higher education of white girls had been withoul^ 
official recognition. White boys had been provided for in the Poly- 
technic School, at Auburn; negro boys and girls had been provided 
for some years with normal and industrial or vocational training at 
both Tuskegee and HuntsviUe. 

The most marked tendency of the period in legislation was the 
creation of separate school districts, with special powers. Between 
1876 and 1884-85 twenty-one acts of this character had been passed, 
some giving the power to tax to the separate district, some with- 
holding this power; at the session of 1886-87 thirteen separate school 
districts were established; in 1888-89, twenty-five; in 1890-91 and 
1892-93, twenty-three each; in 1894-95, twenty-five; in 1896-97 the 
number rose to nearly seventy; in 1898-99 it was about fifty. 

The question of money was uppermost in the formation of these 
districts, but the supreme court decisions, in case of Schultes v. 
Eberly, decided in 1887, and Alabama v. Southern Eailway, decided 
in 1896, stood as lions in the path of local taxation. In the act form- 
ing the Montgomery separate school district, passed February 27, 
1887, it was met by providing that the city council might '^appropri- 
ate" not exceeding 10 per cent of the gross revenue for the support 
of schools. The act of 1885 allowing Tuscaloosa to levy 25 cents is 
brought forward in the school code as if still in full force; the same 
amount might be levied in the Troy district; and 20 cents in the city 
of Gadsden. In fact the legislature was becoming increasingly more 
and more appreciative of the importance of the educational system 
and the financial needs of its administrators. 

In 1894-95 it began to allow towns like Brewton to issue bonds for 
schools and schoolhouses ; Montgomery and Opehka followed in 1898- 
99, and it even went to the extreme of permitting the county of St. 
Clair to levy a special tax of 10 cents for education (act of Feb. 18, 
1895), so far as known the first of the kind in the State. St. Clair was 


followed by Walker in 1896-97, also with a lO-cent tax, by Lamar and 
Fayette in 1898-99, with a 15-cent tax; by Chilton with a tax between 
a minimum of 5 and a maximum of 25 cents, and by Baldwin, which 
could levy enough local school tax to bring the whole county tax up 
to the constitutional limit of 50 cents per hundred, while another law 
of the same year allowed Madison County to set aside $150 for county 
normal schools. 

The act providing for the schools of Anniston, passed in 1891, 
seems nearly a model. The school board was required to make a 
report to the city council — 

showing the amount of money required for the support and maintenance of the pub- 
lic schools of the city for the next ensuing scholastic year, and for the erection, rental, 
or repair of the necessary school buildings, together with a statement of the probable 
amount of money that will be received from the school fund or from any other source. 

The city officers were then required to make an appropriation ^Ho 
supply whatever additional amount may be necessary." They were 
not required to appropriate for schools more than 20 per cent of the 
gross revenue of the city, but might in their discretion appropriate 
larger sums, or make special appropriations for the erection, repair, 
or rental of schoolhouses. 

This seems by far the most hberal of all these local laws, which 
while they did not always provide for local taxation, at any rate 
gave greater freedom and fiexibihty of movement, more Hberty and 
independence, and whetted the appetite for better things. 

As far as the routine of this administration goes, there is little to 
distinguish it from others. The superintendent deplored the slow- 
ness of subordinates in making their reports, which in turn prevented 
him from making his own report on time. He enumerated with some 
detail the principal grievances which were then delaying the progress 
of schools: Sickness in his own family; depression in business and 
stringency in money matters; delay in the payment of teachers; 
partisan pohtics; the grafting of new phases of education on the old 
system and the consequent lack of harmony between parts and need 
of readjustment; trouble in securing patents for school lands; uncer- 
tainty over the school census; and lack of funds for institute work. 

Some of these troubles were important, some were not; some were 
removable by industry and organization ; some were merely symptons 
of an acute state of affairs, while others were chronic. All might be 
bettered by a skillful administration of the resources at command. 
The superintendent recommended, as a partial solution: That the 
census be taken in July instead of August; that some uniform way of 
selecting school officers be fixed and that they be paid; that the grades 
of teachers be reduced to two, and that their examinations be uniform 
and be prepared by the superintendent; that school money be allowed 
for the erection of schoolhouses; that the per capita apportionment 


be increased from the then rate of about 75 cents to $1.50, and that 
m order to provide the necessary money a constitutional amendment 
be passed allowing local taxation to districts, townships, and counties; 
that the local district trustees be reduced from three to one and that 
he be paid; that money for institutes be provided independent of 
the Peabody fund; that women be made eligible for school offices; 
and that all sixteenth section land matters be transferred to a special 

In the superintendent's report for 1897-98 the same troubles and 
the same recommendations appear, and to the troubles of the super- 
intendent were now added smallpox and yeUow fever. He was further 
crippled in his work by a shortsighted pohcy which employed him 
as a State superintendent of schools and then through ^'a too rigid 
economy" reduced him practically to the position of a mere clerk 
in his own department. 

During this administration there was progress; the enrollment was 
larger and the cities were surely forging ahead. The superintendent 
claimed that the reports on education in the State were based entirely 
on the work of the public schools and that this accounted for the low 
rank assigned. 

'-' The State, however, was as yet indifferent, for, while the schools 
had been pleading for more money for 20 years, the rate of taxation 
had been lowered from 7.5 mills to 6 mills, and in 1890 to 4 miUs. 
True, the school appropriation had been increased from $130,000 in 
1877-78 to $350,000 in 1889-90, but all of this sum over and above 
$100,000 was within the control of the legislature, and the feeling for 
economy which followed the reduction of the tax rate to 4 miUs and a 
proper desire to avoid debt even produced a proposition to reduce the 
school appropriation to the constitutional limit; but, be it said to the 
credit of the State, such a proposition to halt the wheels of progress 
met little support, for the State was now almost ready to do openly 
and frankly those things of educational import which she had hitherto 
dared do only by indirection — lay State and local taxes for schools as 

Chapter X. 
THE AWAKENING, 1898-1914. 


With the last years of the closing century the public schools of 
Alabama began to come into their own. At last they began to feel 
the pulse beat of modern life and to realize the wider outlook which 
characterized the times. The new superintendent, Hon. John W. 
Abercrombie, was an educator by profession and was able to analyze 
the situation, diagnose the trouble, and suggest the remedy. One 
of his earliest recommendations was that the law should require the 
superintendent to be an educator. Hitherto the superintendents 
had been pubHc men, lawyers, teachers, patriots, but not educators. 
With the administration of Mr. Abercrombie begins the modern era 
of pubhc education in Alabama, and his first report, which covers the 
biennium of 1898-99 and 1899-1900, shows a marked advance. 

The assembly of 1898-99 made important financial progress, for 
it added $100,000 to the direct appropriation, increased the total 
amount available as interest on the sixteenth section and other land 
funds, and on the initiative of the State superintendent levied a State 
tax of 1 mill, equivalent to 10 cents on the hundred, for the exclu- 
sive use of schools. This tax was legal, for the constitution of 1875 
fixed the total amount of permissible tax at three-fourths of 1 per 
cent, or 75 cents on the hundred, with no limitations on how it, 
should be appUed. The increased legislative appropriation was first ) 
apportioned in 1899-1900, when it raised the per capita distribu- 
tion from 73 cents to $1.05. The next year, 1900-1901, the new 
State tax became available and raised the per capita distribution from 
$1.05 to nearly $1.50. 

The school funds now amounted to more than a million dollars; 
but this was all that could be expected from the State as a State, 
''because the maximum limit of taxation authorized by the constitu- 
tion has been reached.'' Then follows a plea by the superintend- 
ent for local taxation: 

Then, if our funds are not sufficiently large, what shall we do? Shall we fold 
our arms and wait until Alabama doubles in wealth? If so, is it not likely to also 
double in population? * * * What we should do— what other States have 
done — ^what we must do, if we would properly qualify our people for citizenship, 
is to give to counties, townships, districts, and municipalities the power of taxa- 



tion for educational purposes. If the people of any county, township, district, 
city, or town desire to levy a tax upon their property to build a schoolhouse, or 
to supplement the State fund, for the purpose of educating their children, they 
should have the * * * power to do it. * * * The right of local self-gov- 
ernment is a principle for which the southern people, and especially the people 
of Alabama, have always contended; -s^- * * yet, in the matter of providing for 
the education of our boys and girls, it is a right which the fundamental law of 
the State denies to us. '^ * * There should be no limit, constitutional or statu- 
tory, general or local, to the power of the people who own property to tax them- 
selves for the purpose of fitting the children of the State for intelligent and patriotic 

During this administration the work of creating special or sepa- 
rate districts by law continued, but not at the same rate. Since 
these districts were not municipalities, they could levy no tax; but 
the social advantage which came from this rearrangement of terri- 
tory in accord with the topography of the country more than justi- 
fied the break up of the old township system with its straight lines 
and mutitudinous transfers of children- for the purpose of individual 

The town systems were being extended and strengthened, and the 
cities, like Bessemer and Birmingham, began to issue bonds for 
school buildings. 

In 1899 a general law was passed which sought to correct the 
many evils that had grown up around the old system of separate 
county examination of teachers. Under the new law, while the 
examinations were still held in the county, they were prepared and 
the papers read by a State board of examiners, through whom came 
all certificates to teach. By the requirement of examination fees 
the system was made more than self-sustaining. The requirements 
of the several grades were not essentially different from those in 
the law of 1895. Alabama history and composition were added to 
the second grade and the school laws to the first. Under this law 
the third-grade certificate was good for two years and could be 
renewed once; the second-grade for four years with one renewal. 
The result was a succession of untrained teachers who got a little 
experience in the school room and then retired to give place to 
others untried as well as untrained; but still the new law was better 
than the old, for it tended to encourage improvement. 

The question of textbooks had long been a serious one. When 
individual choice had run to a length that was no longer bearable, 
county uniformity was tried and found to work weU in 17 counties. 
The same idea was then apphed to the State as a whole, and in 1901 
there was created a 'Hextbook commission " 'Ho procure for use in the 
public free schools in this State a uniform series of textbooks." 

The congressional district agriculture schools as first organized 
had been a partial failure, for they tended to develop into the orthodox 
literary academies. 

THE AWAKE KING, 1898-1914. 137 

These schools are not in all respects what the general assembly creating them evi- 
dently intended they should be, viz, high schools in which the agricultural features 
would predominate. Most of them have been made high schools in which the literary 
feature predominates. 

Latin and Greek, French and German, music and art, history and 
philosophy had usurped the place intended for practical subjects. 
Some schools even undertook collegiate work. But this unforeseen 
development showed that there was as yet a gap in the State system 
between the primary grades and the college which had not been 
suppHed and for which there was evidently a growing demand. 
These agricultural schools were entirely under local control; therefore 
they took such direction as their patrons desired. They became also 
the objects of factional strife, town jealousies, pohtical and personal 
prejudices. The law governing them was so amended in 1903 that 
one composite board controlled them all and so delocalized their 
administration. In 1901 the minimum length of school term was fixed 
at five months, during which time '^ the free pubhc schools of the State 
shall be kept open absolutely free of tuition fee." This meant that 
if the pubhc funds were not enough to provide a free school for that 
length of time a supplement sufficient for that purpose had to be 
made up by the patrons or there would be no school in the district.* 
It would appear also that this was the first time since reconstruction 
days that all the schools were absolutely free to aU the children for 
a fixed period of time. Hitherto in many counties it was the custom, 
says the superintendent — 

for teachers to charge a tuition fee and credit each patron with his pro rata of the 
public funds. Many people who are unwilling or unable to pay the fee kept their 
children at home. It is true that those who will claim the privilege may send their 
children free for as long a time as the public funds will run the schools. Rather than 
enter their children as the children of parents who are unable or unwilling to pay the 
fees assessed, many persons let them remain out of school and grow up in ignorance. 
This system is evidently against the policy of the law. 

County supervision was still weak from the lack of education and 
experience in the superintendents and the smalhiess of their remuner- 
ation, but was making progress in intelligent comprehension and 
grasp, as their reports show. Another defect in the law was that 
it made no provision for building schoolhouses. This was still a 
purely private and voluntary matter which fell upon a few public- 
spirited men or else — 

some old log church or other dilapidated building is frequently used. Often it is a 
building without desks, tables, windows, blackboards, maps, charts, stoves, and 
with backless benches. Children are expected to take pleasure in attending school 
under these uncomfortable and unattractive conditions. 

1 If the five months' term was found "absolutely impracticable," it might be made four months. (See 
the law of Mar. 5, 1901.) As later laws require that the school term shall be uniform in the county, the 
minimum requirement has been abandoned of necessity. 


The superintendent continues : 

I have urged the grading of schools, but as the law does not require it, I have been 
unable to enforce it. The common schools should be classified as first, second, and 
third grade, according as they are taught by first, second, or third grade teachers 
* * * In the school conducted by a third-grade teacher, only third-grade branches 
should be taught. In the school conducted by a second-grade teacher only second 
and third grade branches should be taught. In the school conducted by a first-grade 
teacher, all the common-school branches should be permitted to be taught. Under 
existing laws * * * a third-grade teacher may teach a second or first grade school, 
and either may essay to teach college and university branches, which they fre- 
quently do. 

It was urged that salaries be based on the grade of teacher's certifi- 
cate held. Compulsory education was discussed, for only about half 
the children of school age were enrolled, and of these 25 to 50 per 
cent did not attend regularly. 

The reconunendations of the superintendent in his report for 
1898-1900, based on the situation as it then was, included: 

That the power of taxation be given to counties, townships, districts, cities, and 

That the poll tax be assessed and collected by school officials and that the laws 
governing this be made more rigid. 

That after the funds were apportioned to the counties, on the basis of school popu- 
lation, they should be disbursed on that of average daily attendance. 

That qualified county superintendents be provided by law, that their pay and 
length of service be increased, and that they be required to devote all of their time to 
school work. 

That the State board of examiners conduct all teachers' examinations and that a 
minimum general average and a minimum branch grade be provided. 

That means and methods be provided for building and furnishing permanent and 
suitable schoolhouses. 

That schools be classified according to the grade of the teachers; that it be made 
illegal to teach branches higher than those upon which examinations had been passed; 
and that salaries be regulated by the grade of the certificate held. 

That absolutely free schools for five months be required; that this requirement 
regulate the number of schools in the township; that supplementary funds given by 
patrons be used to lengthen the free term. 

That when the schools have been made free and available to all a compulsory law 
for children from 7 to 14 years be enacted and that the question of uniform school 
books be considered by the assembly. 

That since the district agricultural schools had largely failed, having developed 
into "high schools in which the literary feature predominates," they should all be 
placed under a single board of control, thus eliminating local influences. 

That a central board "be created for the purpose of ascertaining and publishing 
what schools are prepared to do the work upon which degrees can safely be granted, 
and that no school be given the power to confer degrees unless it measures up to the 
standard fixed." 

That an unconditional appropriation be made for summer normal schools and that 
the counties be authorized to make annual appropriations to the same. 

Some of these recommendations bore fruit immediately. Through 
the prompt action of the assembly, they became laws before the 

THE AWAKENING, 1898-1914. 139 

expiration of Mr. Abercrombie's term of office and have been dis- 
cussed as such, but up to the stature of others the State has not yet 

In concluding his survey for the two years, the superintendent 

says : 

In order to keep abreast with the educational thought and progress of the country, 
I have attended many educational gatherings — county, State, southern, and National. 
* * * During the past two years a great interest in the cause of public education 
has been aroused among the people. Within that time difficulties have been over- 
come, hope has taken the place of discouragement, indifference among the people 
has vanished. The amount of funds available for common-school purposes has been 
increased more than 50 per cent; the qualifications of teachers have been raised; 
incompetent teachers have been eliminated; county supervision has been improved; 
township trustees have been more attentive; schoolhouses have been made better; 
a demand for a qualified county superintendency has been created; the school enroll- 
ment has been largely increased; teachers' institutes have been held more regularly; 
and a spirit of educational progressiveness has been aroused among the people. The 
outlook is most encouraging. 

Again he says: 

Teachers have been paid promptly. The efficiency of the teaching force has been 
advanced beyond estimate. The school term has been lengthened almost 50 per cent. 
The daily attendance has been greatly increased. Educational interest among the 
people has received a wonderful impetus. School officials have been more prompt in 
the performance of their duties. A general public school revival has been conducted. 

There was ^'less discord and more interest." The awakening had 

But it should not be assumed that this change in educational sen- 
timent was altogther the work of two years, or of a single man. 
More accurately, it was the result of the work of many laborers ex- 
tending over many years. The State was now recovering from the 
long-lasting effects of war; having recovered from war and again 
attained to a degree of financial independence, it began to answer 
the call from within to a newer and broader life. The quickening 
effects of this broader outlook ; increased financial resources ; a reali- 
zation of the real educational position of the State, despite the flat- 
tering glosses of politicians; increasing self -consciousness and en- 
hanced self-reliance, together with a forward-looking superintendent 
were the things that made for this educational renaissance. Let it 
be understood also that these things came in spite of constitutional 
limitations, as will be shown in the next section. 

Mr. Abercrombie resigned the office of State superintendent July 1, 
1902, to become president of the University of Alabama. His imex- 
pired term was filled out by Harry Cunningham Gunnels, who pub- 
lished the report for 1901-2. He continued the work as outlined by 
his predecessor, and renewed most of the recommendations of the 
earlier report. 



The State of Alabama adopted a new constitution in 1901, and it 
went into effect November 28 of that year. It is marked for what it 
did in the matter of educational legislation and for what it did not do. 

The limitation on the total amount of tax that might be levied by 
the State was fixed at 65 cents on the hundred, as compared with 75 
cents in the constitution of 1875. The earlier instrument left the 
assembly to divide this as it pleased; the later one says 30 cents on 
the hundred shall be levied for public schools (par. 260). The new 
constitution thus put into the organic law, accentuated and empha- 
sized, a principle which lay at the bottom of the annual lump-sum 
appropriation made by the assembly since 1875 in accord with the 
constitution of that year, and which in 1899 had crystalized into a 
general State tax of 10 cents on the hundred for public schools. It 
here recognized and formally granted a demand for more liberty in 
the matter of taxation which, by implication and exercise, adhered 
in the old. It took from debatable ground and made constitutional 
a tax which, while already exercised by the State, was at best of 
questionable legality under court interpretations of the constitution 
of 1875. By making imperative the 30 cents per hundred tax for 
the use of public schools it changed a lump-sum appropriation that 
had to be struggled for at every recurring session into a perpetual 
gift, which grew automatically with the increasing wealth of the 
State. The last year under the lump-sum arrangement, together 
with the 10-cent tax (1903-4), produced $831,210; the first under 
the constitutional provision (1904-5) of 30 cents produced $880,545. 
This first increase in dollars was insignificant, but the moral effects 
of the law, by the removal of uncertainty, by the security arising out 
of a constitutional provision, and the certainty of future growth, 
were very great. In 1912-13 the 30-cent tax had increased to 
$1,565,472. In 1913-14 it was $1,734,302. 

The new constitution granted to the counties power to levy a total 
county tax of 50 cents on the hundred; of this amount it was now 
formally provided that 10 cents on the hundred could be levied for 
school purposes. This school levy might increase the total tax 
levy from $1.15, the new constitutional limit, to $1.25, the old limit, 
but could be levied only when three-fifths of the qualified voters 
favored the increase. (Par. 269.) 

By implication this right had adhered in the old constitution. At 
any rate some of the counties acted on the supposition. In 1895 the 
assembly had passed an act allowing St. Clair County to levy 10 
cents per hundred for schools. This was followed in 1898-99 by 
Walker (10 cents), by Fayette and Lamar (15 cents each), and in 
1900-1901 by Baldwin, which was to have a graduated county school 

THE AWAKENING, 1898-1914. 141 

tax beginning with 5 cents on the hundred and increasing to 20 

It was understood that these counties had the right io levy this 
tax under the constitution, for the new tax kept within the consti- 
tutional limit, but it was also thought that without legislative per- 
mission they could not appropriate the money thus raised to the 
schools, hence these special acts. The new constitution made this 
clearly marked tendency in the more progressive counties apply to 
the whole State. It thus recognized the trend of the times. It 
yielded to an imperative demand from the people. 

In the matter of cities, towns, villages, and other municipal cor- 
porations the total tax hmit was fixed by the new constitution, as by 
the old, at 50 cents on the hundred, and excluded, under the inter- 
pretation of the supreme court, a tax for schools as a part of the 
general power to tax. To Montgomery was now given the power 
to levy a special tax of 75 cents for the interest and principal of the 
pubHc debt, for pubhc schools and pubHc conveniences; Decatur 
might levy 50 cents for ^^ pubhc schools, pubhc school buildings, 
and public improvements"; while New Decatur and Cullman might 
levy a similar tax ^'for educational purposes." (Par. 216.) 

Another phase of the new constitution which made for democracy 
and decentralization, but not for the continuity of school develop- 
ment, was the clause which declared the State superintendent to be 
ineligible as his own successor. (Par. 116.) 

To summarize: The State tax of 30 cents was made obhgatory; 
the county tax of 10 cents was optional; the municipahties might 
tax (i. e., appropriate) for schools under their general, not under 
special, power, while four named municipahties were given special 
powers to exceed the constitutional limits. None of these powers, 
except those to the four cities, were new. They were aU embraced, 
by imphcation at least, in the old constitution of 1875, and were 
exercised as a part of the general taxing powers of municipahties. 
They had been acted on a& imphed powers, and as such had not come 
up for consideration by the courts. Public-school education in 
Alabama owes something to the constitution of 19^01, but the framers 
of that instrument were the followers, not the creators, of pubhc 
opinion. They wrote into the new constitution principles which had 
been worked out under another name, proved out in practice, and for 
which there was imperative demand. They did not touch the phase 
of the school question which was of vital importance, which is of 
paramount importance to-day and toward which aU Alabama educa- 
tion tends — the question of direct taxation for schools in towns and 
municipahties and in the local units. For this failure there were 
reasons. So far did the constitution makers fail in this vital principle 
that the ink on the new document was hardly dry before the State 


superiatendent began, agitation for an amendment. He says in his 
report, dated September 30, 1902: 

An amendment to the constitution should be submitted allowing school districts 
to levy a local tax for school purposes whenever the people of the district desire it. 
The schools of Alabama can never rank with the schools of other States until provision 
is made for local taxation. 


The constitution of 1901 changed the sessions of the legislature 
from biennial to quadrennial and provided that no State superin- 
tendent should be eligible to succeed himseK in that office. Mr. 
Gunnels was succeeded by Isaac WiUiam Hill, who had been long 
engaged in educational work. 

There was during his administration but a single session of the 
legislature. It passed, however, important school legislation, includ- 
ing the creation of the State textbook commission and the reorgani- 
zation of the administrative boards of the agricultural schools. 
These laws have been discussed already as a part of the previous 

A general law was passed (1903) allowing municipahties to levy, 
provided they kept within the constitutional limitation of 50 cents 
on the hundred, a special tax of one-fourth of 1 per cent for the 
purchase, maintenance, and improvement of school property and 
''the maintenance of public schools."^ 

Another act, passed by this legislature on October 1, 1903, pro- 
vided the machinery in accord with which the counties were permitted 
under the new constitution to levy the special 10-cent tax for public 
schools. By address and the aid of a banquet at which all the leading 
men were present Jefferson County, in which Birmingham is located, 
was induced to lead the movement in voting the tax. Walker, Talla- 
dega, Union, and Tuscaloosa followed Jefferson, and within the next 
three years 32 others adopted the tax and the proposal was defeated 
in 4. The total number voting the tax prior to September 30, 1906, 
was 37; in most of these the law was a success; such opposition as 
had developed soon disappeared, and the superintendent makes the 
remarkable statement that "the people seem actually to have fallen 
in love with voting taxes on themselves for school purposes.' ' 

But the most important, the most wide-reaching, and revolution- 
izing in its influence of aU the acts of 1903 was that for ''redistricting 
the pubhc schools of the State and for the management and control 
of the same." 

We have seen that, beginning about 1876, the custom of creating 
separate or special school districts had been a growing one. Under 

1 Laws of 1903, pp. 398-399. 

THE AWAKENING, 1898-1914. 143 

the constitution these districts could not levy a tax, but the topo- 
graphical arrangement of the new district was a great improvement 
over the rectangles of township lines in the matter of convenience, 
and, through the trustees who directed them, these separate school 
districts made for local school government. This principle of school 
organization, as we have seen, grew to considerable proportions in 
the early m'neties, and by the law of September 30, 1903, was prac- 
tically extended to the whole State. Briefly, this law provided that 
'' township hues for school purposes * * * aj.^ hereby abohshed." 
County redistricting boards were created and instructed to lay out 
their counties anew ''into pubhc school districts according to centers 
of population and natural barriers"; every child was to be, if possi- 
ble, within 2 J miles of a schoolhouse, and no district was to contain 
less than 15 school children. For each of these new districts there 
was to be elected a local board of three trustees, who were to take 
the school census, care for school property, employ schoolteachers, 
visit and report on schools, and have general management and con- 
trol. Chairmen of these local boards were to elect four county 
trustees who, with the county superintendent, were to make up the 
county board of education, in whose hands the county school system 
was placed. It was enacted further, as a sort of reward for diligence 
in well-doing, that when any district had provided a graded school 
system for all children of school age for not less than eight months 
in the year they might elect Rye district trustees instead of three 
and ''assume entire control of the pubhc schools therein," only 
reporting to the county authorities. The county superintendents 
were made fiscal and disbursing officers and were paid 4 per cent of 
their disbursements up to $1,800 per year. The act was not to apply 
to "any county heretofore districted by law and which has a special 
levy from the county for the support of the public schools or to 
school districts heretofore estabhshed by law." Each incorporated 
city and town was also made a separate school district, and so the 
whole State was thus reorganized on the basis of population and natu- 
ral barriers, a result which should have been reached long before. 

The county now became the basis of administration, instead of 
the township, and each school in the county was to be kept open as 
nearly the same length of time as might be. Under the old township 
law grievances had arisen, especially in the black belt. Among these 
was the pernicious practice of paying to parents their pro rata of the 
pubhc school fund should they for any reason feel disposed to keep 
their children out of the school. This custom had its roots deep in 
those laws of ante bellum days which had to do with the distribution 
of the sixteenth section funds and now produced social injustice 
when administered by unscrupulous county officers, if allowed to 


pass the scrutiny of the State officials in Montgomery. Says the 
State superintendent: 

Under the old law there was no one who had direct control over the common schools 
of the counties, and "sharp practices" sprang up which were perversive of the spirit 
of public education. To illustrate: One township in a county not only ran its public 
schools eight months with a first-class teacher, but also defrayed a considerable portion 
of the expenses of boys and girls off at college, while another township in the same 
county did not secure sufficient funds to run its schools four months. The new law 
not only equalizes the school term, but also enables school officials to detect attempts, 
should they be made, to pay the expenses of boys and girls in college out of school 

Under the county system law there was much less inducement to 
pay funds to parents than there had been under the old township 
law. Under the old law a term of four months would meet the 
minimum legal requirements; under the new all schools in the county 
must be of the same length. Payments to parents reduced the school 
term of the whole county, and as the unit of administration was 
enlarged the number of men who would resent such injustice was 

With this brief summary of the new school legislation of the State 
goes a review of educational progress for the period. 

There began to appear during this period a weU-defined effort, 
steady and long continued, conscious and emphatic, to develop a 
professional consciousness. This was manifest in the increased 
interest in and the growing resources available for the normal schools. 
The University of Alabama began a summer school. Heading 
circles, county teachers' associations, and other agencies were making 
for increased professional training, although the county institutes 
had not as yet been so systematized as to be of much service. While 
this progress was making on the professional side, the higher schools 
were making good on their special lines. The Girls' Industrial 
School, at Montevallo, while still hampered by lack of funds and 
accommodations, was using to advantage what it had; and the 
agricultural schools, after being separated from the six lower grades, 
were now to a large extent delocalized and were turning to the agri- 
cultural and other practical work for which they had been intended. 
To these schools there was now added at the Alabama Polytechnic 
Institute a summer school for farmers. The first session was for 
10 days only, but the attendance reached 400. 

The new law regulating the examination and certification of teach- 
ers worked successfully. It encouraged the upper grades, and the 
State was soon unable to meet the demand for first and second grade 
teachers. It was estimated that the standard had been raised 
already 50 per cent since the passage of the law. Another change 
for the better was the payment of teachers monthly instead of 
quarterly, but 'Hhe average Alabama schoolhouse" was still ''not 

THE AWAKE NIN^G, 1898-1914. 145 

only a disgrace to the community in which it stands but a disgrace 
to the State," and under the law not a cent of public money could 
be used for school buildings or for incidental expenses, but was all 
apportioned on the basis of school population. The day of the 
schoolhouse did not come till the organization of the Women's 
Association for the Betterment of Schoolhouses. A revision of the 
school census made under the act of 1903 showed the rolls padded 
to the extent of 28,218 pupils. The old school census showed 
707,269, which was reduced by the newer and more careful enum- 
eration to 679,051. 

Under the new constitution the school funds increased in direct 
proportion to the taxable wealth of the State. But this constitu- 
tion had at the same time dealt a temporary blow to the poll-tax 
fund. This fund was apportioned to the race which paid it, but the 
negro, being no longer allowed to vote, declined to pay the poU tax, 
and this tax dropped from $156,043 in 1900-1901 to $89,810 in 
1904-5. A better system of collection, however, raised it to $179,095 
in 1911-12. 

The recommendations made in Supt. Hill's second report show 
that the schools were advancing. He urged that the public school 
be graded so that the whole of the school work might be correlated 
and articulated from the primary through the higher schools to the 
university ; that at least one high school in each county be established ; 
that a supplementary State appropriation of $300,000 be made for 
schools and $50,000 for school buildings; that an amendment to 
the constitution permitting a school-district tax be submitted by 
the legislature, because the available funds were still insufficient 
for a 5 months' school taught by even a third-grade teacher, without 
private contributions to supplement the public funds. 

The reports of the county superintendents reveal more business and 
educational qualifications than had been the case in earlier years. 
The type of the men engaged in education was rising aU along the 
line. There was progress in quality as well as quantity. Professional 
consciousness was developing. 

The effects of the county tax, which usually increased the length 
of the term a month, began to be visible; some of the towns (as Girard, 
in Russell County) were allowed to vote on bonds for schoolhouses; 
Dothan furnished books as well as tuition and made the whole 
absolutely free; while some of the counties, as Henry, still had to 
assess an entrance fee on each child to make the funds hold out; 
Escambia levied the State tax of 30 cents for schools, then a county 
tax of 20 cents,^ and was ready to levy the additional tax of 10 cents 

1 This 20-ceiit tax was permissible because the total county levy without it did not exceed 30 cents on the 

75075°— 15 10 


permitted by the constitution. Surely this county at least was 
finding itself. 

Mr. Hill was succeeded in 1906 by Hon. Harry C. Gunnels, who 
completed his term of service in 1910, and gave place to Hon. Henry 
Jones Willingham. He became president of the State Normal School 
at Florence in 1913; his term was completed by Hon. William F. 
Feagin, who in December, 1914, entered upon a new term of four 

In recent years the character of public education in Alabama has 
been changing radically. It is no longer a mere matter of teaching 
the three R's, but a wider and broader idea of education has been 
evolved and has given character both to State legislation and to the 
State superintendent's reports. The work of the department has 
become more systematized ; the successive administrations are better 
articulated one with another; personal equations count for less; and 
the superintendent no longer dominates the system in accord with 
his own ideas, as was entirely possible in the earlier days when the 
machinery of the department was less in amount and less complex 
in character. He is no longer the system, but the head of a system to 
which he seeks to give direction; the individual is less; organized 
society as expressed in public opinion and public organization is 
more, and is now reaching out into related and soon to be correlated 
fields of educational activity. 

This personal domination of the superintendent which characterized 
the administrations of the past was nowhere more evident than in 
the annual reports, and nowhere else does this individuahty retain 
its hold with such tenacity. It would seem that here at least no 
effort has ever been made to standardize the reports in such a way as 
to make out of the whole series a single connected whole. Their use 
causes the student constant difficulties, for hardly are any two alike. 
Each superintendent's reports are dominated by the personal equa- 
tion. They vary in form and content, in fuUness and accuracy. 
They sometimes give two or more sets of figures for the same thing 
and agree neither with themselves nor from year to year. The many 
blanks left in the tables are presumably beyond the power of the 
superintendent to remedy, but certainly not so the long columns 
which are untotaled. The various items are not treated uniformly, 
and one which may be fully reported for two or three years is then 
dropped altogether; hence it becomes next to impossible to trace any 
particular line of school development with that minuteness of detail 
sometimes necessary, and any statistics based on these reports can 
not at best be anything more than approximate. In 1906-1908 the 
superintendent's report is made up entirely of the statistics and nar- 
rative reports from the counties. There is no attempt to interpret 
these local reports or to give an idea of any connected educational 

THE AWAKENING, 1898-1914. 147 

development during the period. This characteristic dominated also 
the reports for 1909 and 1910, but the next superintendent did not 
print the county reports as a series of local disconnected systems, 
made up of isolated, independent, and more or less uncorrelated frag- 
ments, but undertook in his report to interpret the tendency of the 
times, to present the evolution of public school education as a whole, 
and to point out its rapidly changing and broadening character. 

Nowhere is this evolution in the character of education more visible 
than in school legislation, which more than ever begins to concern 
itseK with higher, technical, and industrial education. Witness the 
educational acts of 1907 and 1911, which have little to do with the 
schools in the narrower sense, except as to the usual routine appro- 
priations. They deal with broader issues : To aid and extend the field 
of technical education; to provide for industrial schools for boys and 
girls ; to sell university and other school lands ; to estabhsh more nor- 
mal schools ; to appropriate for the deaf and blind ; to provide funds 
for medical education; to define and provide for delinquent children; 
to widen the usefulness of agricultural, girls' industrial, boys' trade 
and industrial schools; to provide for the higher colleges and the 
university; to form farm-life clubs and encourage farm demonstra- 
tion work; to establish high schools, Negro reformatories, etc. 

During these years the superintendents' reports discuss, besides 
the various phases of education in the narrower sense, Uke enrollment, 
attendance, schoolhouses, local taxation, compulsory attendance, 
graded schools, teachers' certificates, etc., such cognate and kindred 
subjects as: The supervising of rural schools; school-improvement 
associations and their activities ; rural lyceums and Hbraries ; county 
high schools and inspectors of the same; agricultural schools, normal 
schools, county superintendents, etc. 

As in the past, so now, enrollment and attendance are matters 
which call for serious consideration. True, as will be seen by refer- 
ence to the statistical appendix, the enrollment and attendance are 
both growing in absolute numbers, but the relative increase is small, 
and there are still a few county superintendents who are content to 
quote platitudes about trusting 'Hhat the people of Alabama will 
never so far forget their duty to their children as to require penal 
statutes to force them to comply with parental duties," but others 
of their number reafize the situation and see the remedy as clearly as 
the State authorities. Says E. E,. Harris, county superintendent of 
Lamar, in 1908: 

Education in Alabama is too partial as to the number reached — too little adapted 
to the various needs of our population. If we would restore respect for authority, 
obedience to law, prevent frauds, political corruption, oppression of the poor, and 
save the State we must have universal education. To secure universal education, 
regular attendance * * * must be required by the State. 


Two years later E. C. Glover, superintendent of Henry, wrote: 

I also favor free textbooks for the public schools of Alabama. I believe that the 
State ought to furnish the books along with the money to pay the teachers. Then 
when we have free schools, when the schools are free in truth as well as in name, com- 
pulsory education would not penalize poverty, and many who now oppose such a law 
would give it their hearty support. 

Says the State superintendent in 1910-11: 

Perhaps we have no right to expect a larger proportion of our young people to attend 
school when this question is determined absolutely and only by the will of the parents 
and children themselves. 

If we take the reports of the superintendent for the last three 
years and interpret them in the light of this remark, we shall find 
that the enrollment in 1910-11 was 73 per cent of the school popu- 
lation; in 1911-12 it was 72 per cent; and in 1912-13 it was 74.7 per 
cent. For the same years the average attendance was 63 per cent, 
61 per cent, and 60 per cent, respectively, of the enrollment. Now, 
if we translate these percentages of enrollment and attendance into 
doUars, we shall find them equal to 63/100 of 73/100, -61/100 of 
72/100, and 60/100 of 74.7/100, or 46 per cent, 44 per cent, and 45 
per cent. All of which means, assuming the present force of teachers 
able to handle the total school population if in actual attendance, 
that the State received 46 cents for each dollar spent in 1910-11, 44 
cents in 1911-12, and 45 cents in 1912-13. 

This measurement is of average attendance in dollars. Now 
consider it in length of school term. The actual term in 1910-11 
was 127 days, in 1911-12 it was 132 days, and in 1912-13 it was 133 
days. But since the per cent of the total school population in 
regular attendance was only 46 per cent, 44 per cent, and 45 per cent, 
respectively, the true length of term was 57.4 days in 1910-11; 58.08 
days in 1911-12; and 59.85 days in 1912-13. 

These figures are based on the total enrollment and attendance for 
these years. It includes cities and high schools, but excludes private 
and denominational schools, and is confined to the whites, for they 
are the more favored and represent the high-water mark of both 
intelhgence and capacity. If negroes were admitted into the calcu- 
lation the figures would be still less favorable. 

The inevitable conclusion, therefore, follows that, at the present 
rate of enrollment and attendance, the State of Alabama may con- 
tinue to pour money as water into these depths of inefficiency and 
never get back more than 45 cents on the dollar. If the State wishes 
to recover from this condition of educational bankruptcy, she must 
not only increase the length of term, but increase the per cent of the 
equally important factors of enrollment and average attendance. 

The above is a consideration of efficiency as measured in attendance 
and length of term only. If we subtract also the efficiency lost to 

THE AWAKENING, 1898-1914. 149 

instruction in the school by the interruption of classes we may find 
that the standard of efficiency actually attained under this system of 
perfect freedom is perhaps only one-third, possibly only one-fourth, 
of what might be attained under the intelligent administration of a 
compulsory law. 

No wonder the superintendent declares: 

The conclusion seems ii-resistible that Alabama without much more delay will be 
compelled to enact a reasonable compulsory-attendance law, and thus follow in the 
footsteps of all but a half dozen of the States of the American Union * * *. Public 
sentiment in this State appears to be growing strongly in favor of a law requiring 
compulsory attendance * * *. Such a law will be popular and greatly beneficial. 

In his repoi-t for 1912-13 he enters into an estimate of the additional 
expense that would be entailed by compulsory education: 

The overwhelming majority of our public schools, especially in the rural districts, 
are crowded for only a few weeks in the middle of each winter session. A teaching 
force which is sufficient to care for this crowded condition during less than half the 
session is employed in almost all cases for the entire session, and, therefore, if those 
who now enroll in school were required to attend regularly, the additional cost of 
maintenance, so far as they are concerned, would be practically nothing. The only 
additional cost in the maintenance of sufficient school facilities to care for all the 
children who ought to be required to attend would apply only to those children who 
are not now enrolled and who have not been in the habit of attending any school 
whatever. * "^ * An investigation of the subject fails to disclose any State or 
any civilized country which has repealed a compulsory education law. '^ * * It 
is modified from time to time, usually extended in its scope and in its requirements. 

The legislature of 1911 passed three laws which serve to unify the 
general administration of the schools. One of these defined and 
extended the duties of the county superintendent. He was required 
to keep an office at the county seat, to visit all the schools in his 
county, to examine into the condition of school funds, and to make 
monthly and annual reports. He was to be paid 4 per cent on dis- 
bursements, and if employed on full time might be paid a fixed salary 
of not less than $1,000. This law went into effect October 1, 1913. 
Another law provides that the county board of education '^select 
annually some suitable person in the county to act as treasurer." 
This choice has usually fallen on some local banker who has been 
wilHng to perform the duties of the office in exchange for the ad- 
vantage of the deposit of county school funds. He pays the teachers 

Another law (Apr. 18, 1911) defined the quaUfications necessary 
for teachers' certificates: 

For third-grade certificates appHcants were to be examined on 
orthography, reading, penmanship, grammar, practical arithmetic, 
United States history, geography, the elementary principles of phys- 
iology and hygiene and agriculture, theory and practice of teaching. 


For second-grade certificates, in addition to the above, additional 
requirements in arithmetic, history of Alabama, English grammar 
and literature, intermediate geography, United States history, and 
civics and class management. 

For the first grade, in addition to the above, algebra, geometry, 
physics, elementary psychology, the school laws of Alabama, and 
advanced English. 

For fife certificates, the history of education. 

The result of the law governing examination ot teachers, granting 
certificates, and grading salaries according to the certificates held 
has been a gradual rise in the capacity and training of the teachers 
and a tendency to gradually eliminate the lower grades, but the 
salaries are still discouragingly low, and the cheapest man is still 
almost the universal favorite. In 1912-13 male white teachers 
received on an average $429; women received $346. Among the 
negroes men received $191 and women $153. This indicated a 
general increase all along the line, except in the case of negro women, 
who fell back $2 per month. Said the superintendent in 1911-12: 
''Alabama receives to-day more than $40 a month for her convicts, or 
approximately $500 gross income from each convict hired. This 
is considerably more than is paid for the services of the average 
public school teacher in Alabama." Then he naively adds: ''This 
statement of fact is not made as a suggestion that teachers should 
leave off teaching and become convicts," but it does present for the 
consideration of patriotic citizens the further fact that the State as 
an owner esteems more highly the labor of its negro convicts than as 
an employer it does the services of its white teachers. 

The superintendent's report for 1913-14, moreover, shows a fur- 
ther widening of the difference between the pay of city and rural 
teachers. White city men teachers received an average of $1,032 
and women teachers an average of $533 as against $337 and $293 for 
rural men and women teachers, respectively. For negroes the figures 
were $355 and $262 as against $132 and $123. The salaries of rural 
teachers have decreased while those of city teachers have increased. 
The superintendent adds: 

It is only fair to conclude that the best teachers of both races will gravitate toward 
the cities and towns more strongly than ever unless our present salaries are increased, 
and any thought of decided improvement along the lines indicated above will make 
it clear that we shall never have the funds until our constitution is so amended as to 
make it possible for us to provide them by local taxation. 

Along with the questions of better teachers and better salaries for 
teachers is bound up another on which these of necessity rest. The 
question of resources is still the burning one in the State. School 
funds are still insufficient to meet legitimate school needs. Up to 
October 1, 1912, the 10-cent county tax allowed by the constitution 

THE AWAKENING, 1898-1914. 151 

of 1901 had been voted in 44 of the 67 counties for such length of 
time as suited the people. In a few counties the tax was proposed 
and defeated. In one or two it was tried and then abandoned, the 
result being manifest injury to the schools; in another it was changed 
from schools to roads. But even when in operation this tax does not 
supply sufficient funds, and' both towns and counties have from time 
to time gotten around its Umitations. In 1901 Escambia had 
been required by law to levy for the year 1901 and for '^each year 
thereafter" a special school tax of not less than 2 mills of the total 
county tax which was to be ''used for the support and maintenance 
of the public schools."^ It will be noted that this act antedated 
the constitution of 1901 and exceeded the limits provided by that 
instrument. Again, it is found that Baldwin levied in 1909 a 3-mill 
tax for schools and thereby won the distinction of being the only 
county in the State at that time whose local funds exceeded the 
general fund from the State and the poll tax combined.^ 

In the case of Mobile, which has since attained the same rank, a 
loss of some $37,000 in annual revenue was sustained about 1909 as a 
result of the cutting out of Hquor hcense fees when State prohibition 
went into effect. It was necessary, therefore, to retrench the activi- 
ties of the schools, increase fees and levy a 2-mill tax to get more 
school money. In 1912-13 this was reported as $124,250, the largest 
in any county, except Jefferson, which that year received $189,450 
from a similar source. In 1909 Girard, Seale and Hurtsboro re- 
sorted to a bond sale to raise money for building schoolhouses ; in 
1910 Jackson County and Thomas ville, Clarke County, did the same, 
but all of these makeshifts could not produce as much money as was 
needed for the schools. In 1908 public income was supplemented from 
private sources, by fees or contributions, to the extent of $299,481; 
in 1909 it was $286,000; in 1910, $255,000; in 1911-12, $310,084; 
in 1912-13, $354,702; and in 1913-14, $429,605. Hand in hand 
with the subjects of compulsory attendance, efficient supervision, 
and general development goes their complement, the question of 
local taxation. These four are the paramount issues in the educa- 
tional world of Alabama to-day. Being more concrete and tangible, 
local taxation has received more attention than compulsory attend- 
ance, has been more considered by the people and is undoubtedly 
making progress. From the statements just made its necessity is 
perfectly apparent. 

Says the superintendent: 

To depend on subscription or tuition fees is folly, and every observant man knows 
it. If the money could be obtained in that way it would be wholly unfair, because 
* * * a few individuals in each community would have the supplement to pay, 

1 See Laws, 1900-1901, p. 1416, 

? See report, 1909, p. 11. Up to Oct. 1, 1914, the coupty tax had been voted " by more than 45 Alabama 


and they would in few instances represent those who were most able to pay it. If 
public education is a public duty ^- * -5^ the only fair and equitable means of 
raising a supplemental fund * * * is through some method of taxation * ^ *. 
Each county is now allowed * * '^ to levy * * ^ lo cents on the hundred 
dollars of property ^ ^ ^. Forty-four counties have already taken advantage of 
this provision * * *. If our people are capable of self-government, they ought 
to have the privilege of saying on election day whether they are willing to levy a tax 
of more than 1 mill in any given county in support of the education of their own 
children, and when the county has levied a reasonable school tax on the property of 
the whole county for the maintenance of all the schools in the county, then the quali- 
fied electors in any school district, whether town, city, or rural, ought to have the 
additional privilege of saying by their vote whether they will levy on the property 
of that district a reasonable additional tax as a further supplement to their own school 
or schools. If, however, our people are not capable of self-government, and if they 
are so anxious to pay taxes that they would vote upon themselves an unreasonable 
rate of taxation, then, of course, our present constitution, which denies them the 
privilege of passing on such a question, ought not to be changed.^ 

The number of separate scliools increased in 1911-12 over the 
previous year by 1 per cent. There was substantially a similar in- 
crease for 1912-13. The superintendent declares that there are 
already too many, and while consolidation and transportation have 
been but little discussed in the State, he recommends the combining 
of one-teacher schools and reports that in some sections the teaching 
of high-school subjects has been consolidated so as to leave the grade 
teachers free for grade work. If this plan continues to work out 
successfully, it will be the beginning of centralization on a larger 

In 1914 there was inaugurated an educational survey of three 
counties which were regarded as typical of the whole. The counties 
chosen were Morgan in the north, Macon in the east central black 
belt, and Covington in the south. The survey was conducted by 
Messrs. Baker and Sibley, inspectors of rural schools, and was pub- 
lished by the department in its Bulletin No. 43. 

It was thought that a survey of the white schools of Macon, where 
the negroes outnumber the whites at the rate of 6 to 1, would give 
'^a fair idea of conditions generally prevailing in the white schools 
in the black belt," and a preliminary study of the counties showed 
that ^Hhe negro schools in Morgan and Covington Counties were 
representative of the general conditions of negro schools throughout 
the State." 

The survey reported on the general questions of population, lit- 
eracy, farming, economic conditions, and public health. In educa- 
tional matters it discussed at length general administration, teachers, 
buildings, grounds, material equipment, values of school property, 
and vitalizing agencies. It covered the field with much thorough- 
ness, emphasized growing strength in some directions, and pointed 

1 Report 1911-12, pp. 9-10. See similar remarks in the report for 1912-13, pp. 10-14. 

THE AWAKENIKG, 1898-1914. 153 

out continued weakness in others. It declared that there is a ten- 
dency toward building up an efficient county administration as a 
basis for good schools, but that back of all these efforts lies the neces- 
sity for more money. There can at present be no local taxation; 
private, supplementary contributions are small and uncertain, and 
salaries are pitifully low. The average for the three counties is $353 — 

or an average of $27.75 per month distributed throughout the year. As the teacher 
must live in the summer if she i3 to be ready for work in winter, the pay should be 
thought of as a year's income. These figures include all public school positions in 
the counties except the county superintendents. If these had been included the 
figures would have been 129.07 per month instead. Of course no chauffeur, deputy ""n 
sheriff, or railway fireman would work at such wages. Many day laborers get more. J 

Then, to drive this lesson home, the survey prints the pictures of 
an automobile iand a schoolhouse side by side. It gives the initial 
cost of the automobile and the average cost of the schoolhouse, the 
annual maintenance of each, and concludes that — 

If one man in a rural community owns a very moderately priced automobile, he has 
invested in it more than the entire community has invested in its school plant. It 
is also possible that he spends more upon the upkeep of the automobile than the com- 
munity spends upon the upkeep of the school, even including the teacher's salary. 

The latest annual report of the State superintendent, that for 
1913-14, continues agitation along the lines of earlier reports and 
of the county survey considered above. The superintendent urges 
in particular that more effort be made to promote community 
organization. This is to come through the common school, the 
institution nearest the soil, which should be made the apostle of 
intelligence, of industry, and of thrift for the regeneration of rural 
life. With a country life commission to serve as a clearing house 
of information and ideas and to promote the development of com- 
munity organization '^we may justly hope to weld the people of any 
district * * * j^^^ ^^^ coherent whole for its own uplift with 
the country schoolhouse as the base of operation." 

In the matter of constructive legislation the superintendent 
urges what has been urged before: Local taxation, a State board of 
education, consolidation, and compulsory attendance.^ 

The last word on the educational situation is that of Gov. O'Neal, 
who, in his message to the legislature in January, 1915, points out 
the shortcomings of the present system. The most serious of these 
he considers the apportionment of school funds to the counties on 
the basis of the whole school population, which the experience of 
the- State has shown to be '^manifestly unjust and inequitable." 
He also shows how this apportionment works out in practice in favor 
of white teachers in the black belt counties as against those in the 

1 Rept. Dept. Educ, 1913-14, William F. Feagin, superintendent. 


white counties. He quotes the statistics of 10 counties in each group 
and then adds: 

It will thus be seen that there was apportioned to these 10 counties mentioned in 
the black belt for the fiscal year 1913 from the 3-mill tax and the poll tax the sum of 
$410,709.55, used for the education of 12,868 children attending the schools in those 
counties; whereas there was apportioned the same year to 10 white counties the sum 
of $233,428.10 for the education of 28,440 children attending the schools in those 
counties. These figures show that the State paid for the education of each child that 
attended school in the black belt counties mentioned during the fiscal year 1913 
* * * the sum of $31,917 per capita; whereas it only paid in the white counties 
mentioned the sum of $8,207 per capita. 

He then comments on the situation as follows: 

All students on the subject agree that an equal per capita distribution of funds as 
now required by our State constitution is not an equitable distribution, is not based 
on sound principle and can not afford the relief which should be given, and is unsat- 
isfactory and unjust. It does not accomplish the equalization of burdens and ad- 
vantages, and its abandonment in the interest of justice is the first and most important 
step on educational reform. * * * The present method of apportionment gives 
the money of the State to communities for the education of children who do not attend 
and who do not expect to attend the public schools. * * * Under the present sys- 
tem we put an active and continual premium on nonattendance and encourage the 
school-teachers of the country by consideration of their own personal interests to 
discourage attendance. * * * The real unit of cost in our public schools is not 
the number of children who may or may not attend, but the cost of the teacher. 

The governor declares further that the educational interests of the 
State demand "a, more efficient system of county supervision and 
administration." He urges the repeal of the constitutional pro- 
vision which forbids more than 4 per cent of the school funds being 
expended for anything other than teachers; he urges consolidation 
of schools, health supervision, and the creation of a State board of 
education with full administrative powers; he urges that the normal 
schools at Daphne and Moundville be changed to county high schools, 
and that the appropriations and equipment of the four normal 
schools remaining be increased; that the standard of teaching be 
raised; that better schoolhouses be erected and that they be used 
as social centers; that a course of study be prepared for country 
schools; that education be vocationalized and that a proper survey 
of the educational field be made by intelligent educators.^ 

1 Governor's message to the Legislature of Alabama, Jan. 12, 1915, pp. 51-78. 

Chapter XI. 


Normal training for teachers dates from the early days of the 
system. Gen. Perry discussed its importance and necessity in ante 
helium days, hut there was no formal organization of normal schools 
till the reconstruction period. So far as known, the first act in 
Alabama making special provision for the education of teachers was 
that passed by the State board of education on August 11, 1868, that 
there be established — 

in each of the cities of Mobile, Montgomery, Huntsville, and Selma, and in each of 
the towns of Talladega, Eufaula, Athens, Tuscumbia, Marion, and Evergreen [and 
Portersville, omitted from law by mistake], one or more classes of advanced pupils 
(each of which shall consist of not less than 15 pupils) who may desire to become fitted 
for the occupation of teachers, to which class instruction shall be given in the most 
approved methods of teaching, and opportunities of practice afforded in the instruc- 
tion of pupils of less advanced grades in the common schools. Pupils may be admitted 
into any of the normal classes on the recommendation of any teacher of a common 
school * * * only upon a promise in writing that the pupil will teach in the 
schools of Alabama, when properly qualified so to do, for at least two years. 

No limitation was put on the expenses that might be incurred by 
these classes. There was the simple provision that they be certified 
by the county superintendent and paid by the State treasurer. 
In 1869 Dr. Cloud reported that nine normal classes, with 300 pupils, 
had been taught in six different places during the previous year. We 
have no direct testimony as to the success of these schools, except 
that given by Supt. Hodgson in January, 1871, and quoted already. 
His estimate is decidedly unfavorable, but we must make allowance 
for the rancor of poHtical bitterness. Mr. Hodgson adds to his 
criticism: ^'The subsequent abandonment of the schools, it is fair 
to presume, has resulted in a loss to this department of $12,000 for 
the year 1869 and $25,000 for the year 1870." These amounts were, 
to be exact, $5,371.85 and $16,582.10. 

In his special report of January 28, 1871, Supt. Hodgson says: 
At the last session of the board the old schools were abolished, and a bill was passed 
establishing 13 normal schools, 7 for the training of white teachers and 6 for the training 
of colored teachers. This was three times as many as the State of New York possessed 
for 25 years, and more than twice as many as she possesses to-day. Your Excellency 
has seen proper to withhold your signature from that bill. 

But what was evidently only a variation of the original idea ap- 
pears in the legislation looking toward teacher-training in separate 
institutions enacted by the State board of education on December 
20, 1871, for on that day four distinct acts were passed. The first 



provided for four normal schools, one each at Montgomery, Hunts- 
ville, Marion, and Sparta, for the training of colored teachers of both 
sexes. To meet the expenses of these schools, $4,750 was appro- 
priated. There was the usual requisite that pupils teach two years 
in the public schools of the State in return for tuition. A second act 
provided for four normal schools for white teachers, one each at 
Talladega, Tuscumbia, Scottsboro, and Midway; and for their sup- 
port $4,500 was provided. A third act provided for a normal school 
for white women teachers (location not fixed) and set aside $5,000 
for its use. Another act established a Central Normal School for the 
education of white teachers in connection with the State university, 
and provided $5,000 for its use. 

These acts were not all put into operation. In December, 1872, 
another act is found appropriating $3,250 for the three colored normal 
schools at Marion, Huntsville, and Sparta, and it is probable that the 
legislation then passed in regard to the State normal school at Flor- 
ence goes back to that of the previous year, although there is nothing 
to connect it directly with the earlier act to provide for white women 
teachers, and the supplementary act dealing with the Florence 
Wesley an University provides for the education of white male 
teachers. A fund of $5,000 was provided for the use of the school. 
A year later (Dec. 5, 1873) this act was so amended as to admit l^oth 
men and women to the school. At the same time another act pro- 
vided for the establishment of a normal school and university for 
negroes in connection with the Lincoln School, at Marion, and 
appropriated $2,000 (increased by act of Dec. 15, 1874, to $4,000) 
for normal purposes; a similar school for negroes was located at 
Huntsville, and $1,000 provided for its maintenance. No other 
acts relating to normal schools seem to have been passed during the 
reconstruction period, and this is the beginning of teacher training 
in the State. 

The total sum paid by the State for normal instruction in the 
scholastic year 1873 (Oct. 1, 1872 to Sept. 30, 1873), was $9,750, of 
which $5,000 went to the white normal school at the university and 
$4,750 was divided among the colored normal schools at Mont- 
gomery, Marion, Huntsville, and Sparta. The next year, 1873-74, 
the total was $8,000, of which $5,000 went for white teachers at 
Florence and $3,000 to the colored schools at Marion and Hunts- 
ville. In 1874-75 they received $10,000. In 1875-76 the school 
at Florence had 65 normal pupils. 

The laws relating to normal schools, passed by the State board 
of education, survived the end of reconstruction and were brought 
over into the code of 1876 and into the act of February 8, 1877. Under 
the provisions of that act there was established permanently in the 
buildings of the Florence Wesleyan University at Florence ''a school 
for the education of white male and female teachers,'^ and $5,000 was 


provided for the support of the faculty exclusively. In the same 
way the new school act again establishes in the building of the Lin- 
coln School in Marion ''a State normal school and university for 
colored teachers and students/' for which $4,000 was appropriated, 
and for the '^ normal school for the education of colored teachers" at 
Huntsville $1,000 was appropriated. It will be quickly noticed that 
these laws were merely a reenactment of the legislation of the board 
of education passed in 1872 and 1873, and since that time the prin- 
ciple covering the training of prospective teachers has been fully 
recognized in the State. 

There are now six normal schools in the State devoted to the educa- 
tion of white teachers and three for negroes teachers. To the funds 
of all of these institutions the State is the principal contributor, 
but important gifts have been received from the Peabody and Slater 
funds and in the case of Tuskegee from many different sources. 
Indeed, by far the greater part of the funds of that institution have 
come from the outside. In 1913-14 the total contribution to the 
cause of normal schools by the State was $1 14,500. Of this sum Flor- 
ence, Jacksonville, Livingston, and Troy received $20,000 each; Daphne 
andMoundville, $5,000 each; $16,000 went to Montgomery; $4,000 to 
Normal; and $4,500 to Tuskegee. Each is required to report regu- 
larly to the State superintendent. 

Besides the normal schools established and supported by the State 
whose statistics are given later, there have been other schools 
organized from time to time which have made their own proper con- 
tribution to the cause. Most important of the outside agencies 
contributing to this end was the Peabody education fund, through 
which for a number of years pupils were sent regularly from Alabama 
to the Peabody jSTormal College in Nashville, Tenn., for a thorough 
course of pedagogical training. In 1882 the Peabody fund estab- 
lished 16 Peabody scholarships in the normal school at Florence, 
for which they paid $2,000. In 1885-86, besides the $2,000 con- 
tributed for scholarships at Nashville and a similar amount to the 
school at Florence, the fund appropriated $300 each to the normal 
schools at Jacksonville and Huntsville, $400 to that at Normal and 
$300 to the Peabody school district. In 1886-87 and later years 
both the amount and direction of this donation varied from time to 
time. At the time that the Peabody board was supplementing 
pubhc funds by sending prospective teachers to Nashville, the State 
was encouraging the private organization of teachers' institutes in 
the counties. Says the State superintendent in his report for 1878-79 : 

These institutes have been organized in nearly every county in the State. They 
are generally well attended. In addition to the awakening of new interest among 
teachers, these institutes promise to be the means of uniforming and improving 
methods of ins-truction and discipline in the schools, with a general approach to 
uniformity in textbooks. 


In 1879-80 there were 115 institutes held, but unfortunately they 
were massed in about half the counties, while the other half had 
none. In 1880-81 the number was 89; the next year there were 
122; and up to this time they had been purely voluntary organiza- 
tions. The superintendent now recommended that they be taken 
over by the State and supported out of a fund raised by taking $100 
from the school fund in each county. They were to cover a month 
in time and be estabHshed for each race. As a result of this agitation, 
a law was passed about 1884-85 which provided that teachers' insti- 
tutes should be held in each county. The county superintendent 
was made the responsible officer and every licensed teacher was 
required to attend. For the year 1885-86 the Peabody fund con- 
tributed $500 to their support and lent them the dignity of its name. 
Later the financial responsibility was shared by the State, and as 
many as eight white and five colored institute conductors were in the 
field in 1891, when the Peabody fund donated $3,500 to the work. 
In 1892, 1893, and 1894 they were conducted by congressional dis- 
tricts, because the county unit had been found too small. In 1894-95 
the reports show that the Peabody contributions had been transferred 
to the regular normal schools, and, while the State appropriation for 
institutes remained on the statute books, it was no longer available, 
being conditioned on a similar sum from the Peabody trustees. The 
responsibility for the institutes was thus thrown back, under the law, 
upon the county superintendents, and with the rise of the State 
normal schools they became for a time of less and less significance. 
In 1903-4 it was said that, while three or four institutes were held a year 
in each county, they were not meeting the purpose for which intended. 

In 1911 a new institute law was passed. It provided $5,000 for 
institutes to be held one week in each county under the direction of 
paid expert directors. AH teachers except those holding fife certifi- 
cates were required to attend, and their purpose was declared to be — 

to provide some professional training and instruction to that large body of the teaching 
force who have not had the privilege of receiving professional training in normal 
schools or the teacher-training department of other higher institutions. 

For the use of negro institutes, located at given centers, $1,000 
was provided. 

Other organizations, private in origin and character, but con- 
tributing to the upbuilding of schools, are the Alabama teachers' 
associations. The white teachers had been first organized in 1856 as 
the Alabama Educational Association. They had annual meetings 
and supported a school journal, but Hke most other things educa- 
tional went down in the mad storm of war. There was a temporary 
revival in 1871, but the time was not ripe. In Jidy, 1882, in Birming- 
ham, the organization was revived imder the name, Alabama 
Teachers' Association. Curiously enough, the colored teachers were 
organized that year for the first time as the Alabama State Teachers' 


Association. As a result of this similarity in. narae, the white teachers 
soon went back to their original name and are now known as the 
Alabama Educational Association. Through this association the 
teachers are now thoroughly organized, they have annual meetings, 
their proceedings are pubhshed in large volumes, and much discussion 
takes place covering many phases of modern education. The asso- 
ciation has served a useful purpose in bringing the teachers from 
different sections of the State together, has made better acquainted 
those who have to deal with different phases of the same problems, 
and is fostering a much closer correlation of educational forces than 
has hitherto been known in the history of the State. It is by no 
means an imimportant adjunct to the work of the normal schools. 

Still another agency in the training of teachers, one which supple- 
ments the normal school, the teachers' institute, and the teachers' 
association, because it can be brought into use at any time and place, 
is the teachers' reading circle. In his report for 1882-83 the State 
superintendent reports the organization of the Alabama Teachers' 
Readiug Circle, whose object was ^Ho induce aU teachers to pursue a 
four years' course of readuig, specially selected so as to be of the 
greatest benefit to them." But this movement did not last long, 
and in 1893 agitation was renewed. At a meetuig of the Alabama 
Educational Association held in Montgomery that year, such an 
organization was proposed. The next year it was stated that there 
was already a Teachers' Lyceum, and it was resolved that the '^asso- 
ciation indorse this lyceum movement, adopt it as our official reading 
circle, and urge its organization in. every part of our State." But the 
movement seemed to have been premature, and little came of it. 
In 1908 its revival was proposed by C. W. Daugette; organization 
was effected in 1909. The books selected for the first year's reading 
were: PhiOips's Old Tales and Modern Ideals; Kern's Among Country 
Schools; and Button's School Management. It was reported at the 
end of the first year that 40 counties had been organized and 2,000 
copies of the above books bought. A Yoimg Peoples' Circle was 
added in 1910. A small hbrary of 28 volumes, costing $10, was 
adopted for the elementary grades, while one of 13 volmnes, costing 
$5, was selected for the high schools. After the passage of the rural 
library law in 1911, a working arrangement with the new organiza- 
tion was effected, and the two have since developed in harmony, each 
strengthening the other. In 1912-13 there were 2,967 white teachers 
and 427 colored teachers who secured and read the three books 
prescribed for this course of professional readuig. The increase of 
teachers taking this work among the whites was 10 per cent and 
among the colored 21 per cent. ''This remarkable showing is a 
development of scarcely more than three years. It developed from 
a beginning so small three years ago as to be almost a negligible 
number," says the State superintendent. 

In 1913-14 the white teachers who were following the reading 
course numbered 3,937; the negro teachers numbered 345. 


Still another aid in the training of teachers may be mentioned 
here. The educational press had its origin in Alabama in the 
Southern Educational Journal and Family Magazine, edited and 
published by F. H. Brooks, in Mobile, in 1843 and 1844. It was 
short-lived, apparently, only six monthly numbers appearing, the 
last of them being for March, 1844. It was a magazine of general 
educational information and had little direct application to Alabama 
beyond advertising a series of Alabama readers and other books 
used in the primary schools of the day. 

After the suspension of Brooks's Southern Educational Journal 
there was a blank until Gen. Perry established his Alabama Edu- 
cational Journal, which was published at Montgomery from Janu- 
ary 1, 1857, to September, 1859, making two volumes, one in quarto 
and one in octavo form. It was semipopular in character, and its 
value has been considered already in the chapter on the work of 
Gen. Perry and Capt. Duval. Its place was supplied by the Southern 
Teacher, ''a journal of school and home education," which was 
published at Montgomery by W. S. Barton, July, 1859, to April, 1861, 
or later. It was the desire of the editor to become a sort of connec- 
tional educational organ for the South as a whole, but his ambition 
was stilled by war. 

In April, 1871, Col. Joseph Hodgson, then State superintendent, 
established the Alabama Journal of Education. It was merged 
the same year into the Alabama Educational Ma,gazine and this 
into a paper called the Advance. 

Then came the Alabama Progress, established in Montgomery by 
George P. Keyes, and first issued March 18, 1882. It became the 
'^ official journal of education" for the department and was ''sus- 
pended for a few weeks " August 25, 1883. It had been very general 
in character and had many features of a newspaper. Then came in 
May, 1885, the Alabama Teachers' Journal, published first at Hunts- 
ville, later at Montgomery. It was edited by J. A. B. Lovett and 
was more strictly professional in character. It completed its fourth 
volume with September, 1889. No other volumes were published, 
apparently. It is evident that Alabama was not yet productive 
soil for educational publications. But the times were improving. 
In April, 1889, J. H. Phillips and others began the Educational 
Exchange, in Birmingham. It was published from that city through 
1891, then removed to Montgomery and continued under the direc- 
tion of J. M. Dewberry. It was taken back to Birmingham in 1895 
and has since then been published there. It is now issued by the 
Educational Exchange Co., and having completed its twenty-eighth 
annual volume may be counted as a fixture. 

The most important data connected with the normal schools now 
in existence is given in the following table by five-year periods, 
1872-73 to 1912-13. It shows that their influence and usefulness 
is increasing with the development of the State. 


Statistics of Alabama normal schools, 1872-73 to 1912-13. 






in li- 

Value of 





Florence i 




Huntsville 2 








Huntsville. . 



























10, 661 





Tuskegee 3 





Florence . . . 


Jacksonville < 





4 200 

Troy 6 

$17, 000 



Tuskegee .... 









26, 750 



16, 122 


33, 500 
107, 488 









Montgomery ^ 


Florence « 



Livingston ^ . 




Huntsville 8 










Tuskegee s 

Montgomery 8 












, 24 






















35, 000 

53, 250 
16, 600 
38, 400 
47, 600 

43, 750 
97, 445 












Jacksonville. . 



Norma 1 ^ 


14 325 

Montgomery . . 





15, 104 


20, 921 
20, 434 



Troy. . . 








Livingston. . . 


18, 851 
18, 749 


12 5, 161 

21, 170 

' Daphne 10 


18, 749 





30, 179 




38, 681 


21, 183 


Montgomery . . . 

















Moxmdville " 


Tuskegee . 


iFor white men, organized in 1872; later, coeducational. 

2 For negroes, organized in 1871; coeducational. 

3 For negroes, organized Jidy 4, 1881, with 30 pupils. 

4 For white men, organized 1883; later, coeducational. 

5 For white women, organized 1883; all other normal schools are now coeducational. 

6 For white men, organized 1887; later, coeducational. 

7 Transferred by l*^gislature about 1886 from Marion and reestablished as Alabama Colored People's 
University, at Montgomery. Act declared unconstitutional; reestablished by act of Feb. 23, 1889, as the 
Montgomery State Normal School for Colored Students^ 

8 Report for 1893-94; that for 1892-93 not given. 

9 For negroes, formerly called Huntsville. 
10 Organized in 1907; coeducational. 

" Organized 1907-8. 

12 See act of Apr. 14, 1911. Sess. Laws, 1911, p. 417. 

75075°— 15- 




The organization and development of city schools in Alabama harks 
back to Mobile. As we have already seen, it was in that city that 
the pubhc-school system had its birth and earliest development. 
There experiments began in 1826 and had a slow and unsatisfactory 
evolution until 1852, when the school law was revised, and there was 
a real renaissance of pubhc-school interest. The schools were then 
reorganized, developed more civic interest, took on new life, and 
were approaching the modern ideal of public schools supported by 
all and free to all. This explains why the Mobile organization was 
the only city system before the war and hence far ahead of the rest 
of the State. It obtained such a hold on the popular favor that it 
stood the stress of civil war, did not suspend operations till the spring 
of 1865, and was soon after reorganized. 

Then came reconstruction, when it lost its distinctive organization 
and was absorbed into the State system. The constitution of 1875 
restored its ancient privileges and enacted the provision that in 
matters of education the new constitution should apply to it — 

only BO far as to authorize and require the authorities designated by law to draw the 
portion of the funds to which said county will be entitled for school purposes, and to 
make reports to the superintendent of education as may be prescribed by law. 

The article on taxation prescribed further that Mobile might until 
1879 levy 1 per cent on valuation and after that three-quarters of 
1 per cent 'Ho pay the expense of the city government." This was 
one-quarter of 1 per cent more than other cities might levy; so that 
there were more funds available for the school. This provision for 
the three-quarters of 1 per cent was brought over into the new con- 
stitution of 1901. That instrument provided also that three-quarters 
of 1 per cent might be levied (the general limit of municipal taxation 
being one-half of 1 per cent) by Decatur, Kew Decatur, and Cullman, 
to be used for public schools and public school buildings. No other 
cities were allowed to levy such special taxes, and as we have already 
seen, the help that has come to the cities in the matter of pubhc- 
school tax has not come through granting the taxing power direct 
to the school. 

There were a few acts passed in reconstruction days which looked 
to a practical extension of the Mobile idea of differentiating city 
schools from the other parts of the pubhc-school system of the State. 
In 1870 acts were passed by the board* of education, then the legisla- 
tive as well as the executive power in school matters, which gave 
separate official organization to the school of Montgomery and 
Selma. In 1872 Opelika, Eufaula, and Birmingham were added to 
the list, and in 1874 Huntsville and Dadeville. These acts defined 
the boundaries of the districts, and by separating them from the 


surrounding territory gave them opportunity for a greater individu- 
ality and independent development. From 1871-72 accounts of 
these schools occur with more or less regularity and fullness in the 
reports of the State superintendent. In the reports for 1871-72 and 
1872-73 Montgomery and Selma appeared; in 1873-74 Birmingham 
and Eufaula were added to the hst, and in 1874-75 Huntsville 
appeared, making five cities that received special treatment. It will 
be noticed that Mobile is not included in these separate reports. In 
fact the semi-independence of Mobile, while making greatly for the 
advantage of her schools, has seriously mihtated against the com- 
pleteness of the State reports. 

With the reorganization that followed the adoption of the new 
constitution in 1875, these special city systems were retained. 
Oxmoor was soon added to the hst, the whole system was brought 
over into the new code of 1876, and Marion was added by the act of 
February 5, 1877. It will be noted that none of the special acts 
passed during the reconstruction regime contained the provision for 
special taxation. But this provision appears in the act creating the 
Oxmoor school district, the first of these acts passed under the Demo- 
cratic regime. It is significant that this act, apparently the first 
relating to education, passed under the new constitution, should also 
be the first, to voice the necessity for local taxation. This is now 
nearly 40 years since. Educational leaders, idealists, and men of 
action thought it necessary then. How much more is it needed now! 

Under these acts the separate districts were allowed by the law 
creating them to have their proper share of the sixteenth-section and 
State funds. They were given their own separate organization and 
so made free in the matter of administration from the limitation of 
the old township system. They thus secured needed flexibility and 
freedom of movement, and so useful was this separate organization 
that the creation of separate school districts grew rapidly. In the 
nineties more than 50 such districts were created at a single session, 
and in 1903 the old township system for school purposes was entirely 

The one thing which differentiated the separate districts, developed 
first in the towns and later extended to the country, was the greater 
flexibihty and freedom of action. There was another reason which 
made for their organization in the earher years. This was the hope 
of using them as a basis for local taxation. Beginning with Oxmoor 
in 1875 and extending to the Birmingham act of February 18, 1895, 
the cities, towns, and separate districts through their special organi- 
zation have tried hard to secure the right of local taxation. Numer- 
ous special school charters were passed with this provision inserted, 
but the unincorporated places went down in the CuUman case 
(Schultes V. Eberly, 82 Alabama) and the cities and towns in the 


Birmingham case (State of Alabama v. Southern Railway, 115 
Alabama, 250). Nor was the right of local taxation for education 
recognized by the constitution of 1901. They have ceased to try to 
obtain results along those lines, having been entirely blocked by the 
courts. In 1903 there was passed a law which provided that munici- 
palities might purchase school property and erect school buildings. 
This act carried with it the power to levy a tax of 25 cents on the 
hundred, provided their whole tax did not exceed the constitutional 
limit of 50 cents on the hundred. It does not appear that any test 
case involving the validity of this act has ever come before the 
courts.^ It might also be pertinently asked if the same funds could 
not have been raised under the general municipal power to tax and 
thus have avoided the risk of an unfavorable decision. It is probable, 
however, that the main purpose of this law was to give the cities power 
to make appropriations for this particular purpose after the money 
was raised. 

In general the coui^e of the evolution of the various city systems 
has been the same. In most cases, certainly as far as the older towns 
are concerned, the public schools have grown up out of various private 
academies, in whose hands the subject of education was left in earher 
days. As the municipality grew in strength and social consciousness, 
the functions of education were gradually taken over. In some 
instances the board of trustees of the private academy was made by 
law the board for the new city system. In some cases it was put 
under the care of a special board ; in others it became the care of the 
mayor and aldermen, and to these boards were given the power 
usually exercised by boards of education. 

Funds were secured in various ways. The acts creating spe(jial 
school districts provided that they should receive their pro rata of 
the sixteenth section of State school funds; there were some private 
contributions; there were others from the town or county, or both, 
and when aU of these failed to produce enough to meet necessary 
expenses, tuition fees were charged. For this reason the city schools 
in particular, like the State public schools in general, have not been 
always free, but have attained this goal only by slow stages as the 
towns are themselves able to increase their appropriations. 

It will be noted also that these city appropriations have come from 
the general city budget, not from taxes levied for schools, for this 
was declared unconstitutional under the organic instrument adopted 
in 1875, nor had the current set itself sufficiently strong toward 
education to place such a provision in the constitution of 1901. These 
schools are now reaching a crisis. They must have more money. 

1 Hon. Robert C. Brickell, attorney general of Alabama writes: "I find that the act has been carried 
into the Code of 1907, and is now section 1458 of said code. This section is substantially the same as the 
act of October 6, 1903, with the exception that the tax of one-fourth of 1 per cent may be levied, provided 
such municipality shall not exceed its constitutional limit of taxation." 


Notwithstanding the fact that the cities have not been able to give 
their schools the funds needed for their proper development because 
of these constitutional hmitations, it does not take a very detailed 
examination of the school reports to see that they are steadily forging 
ahead of the country districts. There are various reasons for this, 
most of which are inherent in the fundamental distinction between 
city and country. The city has a larger and more closely knit 
population. If not more homogeneous, it is more aggressively 
aware of its educational needs, and larger schools make possible a 
better school organization. Then, municipal progress is greater, 
because cities are generally more wilhng to tax themselves up to the 
Mmit and city property is both more compact and greater in amount. 
The constitutional limit of taxation was the same in either case (50 
cents on the hundred) until the constitution of 1901 permitted the 
counties to levy an extra 10 cents, but notwithstanding this advantage 
the cities have more than held their own as reports on income and the 
length of the school term will indicate. 

It does not seem desirable to enter into any extensive survey 
of the fortune of the schools of particular towns, yet a paragraph 
or two in this direction wiU not be out of place. 

As already seen, the schools of Montgomery and Sehna were pro- 
vided for in 1870, and their reports date from 1871-72. Acts for 
OpeHka, Eufaula, and Birmingham were passed in 1872, and their 
reports appear for 1873-74. HuntsviUe and DadeviUe began in 
1874, and since then the organization and development of city (or 
separate district) systems has been more or less regular, and has been 
carried on in more recent years at an increasing rate. 

Under the present law the city schools are divided into four classes: 
Class A, those of 25,000 inhabitants or over, incliides Birmingham, 
Mobile, and Montgomery; class B, those with between 5,000 and 
25,000 inhabitants, includes ten cities; class C, those of between 1,000 
and 5,000 inhabitants, has 66 cities and towns; class D, includes all 
incorporated places of less than 1,000 inhabitants, and numbers 164 
towns and villages. So useful has this classification proved to be 
that school districts with an enroHment of less than 100 pupils are 
found on the list. Of the cities in class A, Mobile has ah'eady been 
discussed at length in this bulletin. Montgomery had her system 
reorganized in 1882, and at that time did not own a school building 
or have any equipment worthy of the name. Its enroUment was 
about 700 pupils; three years later these had increased to 1,730 
pupils taught in five schools. In 1912-13 her enrollment was 4,934, 
and the total expenditures were $92,124. 

But Hke a chapter from the Arabian Nights is the story of the rise 
of Birmingham, the new iron and steel center of the South. The 
town itself does not antedate the Civil War. In 1873 it was visited 


by an epidemic of cholera. Values were destroyed and the town 
almost depopulated. There was pinching poverty, sorrow, and 
despair. Out of these misfortunes came the efforts to organize a 
public school system in October, 1873, under the law of 1872. Col. 
J. T. Terry took the lead in raising the necessary money for a school 
building, and the land for the same was donated by Col. James K. 
Powell, for the Ely ton Land Co. The schools were finally opened 
in March, 1874, and in the next nine years had eight superintendents. 
In 1883 they reorganized the system and appointed a new super- 
intendent. When he, the ninth in lineal succession, took charge 
in 1883-84, there were 1,620 pupils of school age, with 14 schools 
and 16 teachers; the total enrollment was 967, and the average 
attendance was 510. The total expense for teachers that year was 
$1,290. For the year 1912-13 the corresponding figures were: 
School population, 43,659; schools, 62; teachers, 609; enrollment, 
25,320; average attendance, 17,883; amount paid to teachers, 
$369,749; while the total expenditures were $511,766. This im- 
mense growth for the last 30 years has been under the administrative 
direction of a single superintendent, John H. Phillips, who has seen 
the school system develop from frail and weak beginnings into its 
present strength. This development has not always been along 
lines of pleasantness. The opposition was sometimes strong and 
frequently aggressive, but out of it all the schools have at last emerged 
strong and vigorous. Based on safe and sure foundations, they 
are now ready for a wider field of usefulness, which will come only 
when the city has authority to give her schools the funds which she 
is anxious to levy for their use, but which she is as yet forbidden to 
levy by a too conservative constitution. 

It has not seemed proper to trace further the educational history 
of particular cities, but to give instead the statistics of the educa- 
tional growth of the older cities and towns by five-year periods 
beginning with 1872-73. From such a table we can see the gradual 
growth of educational facilities and so compare them with corre- 
sponding figures for the State as a whole. It is evident, first of all, 
that these statistics are very incomplete. But, assuming that 
they furnish a fairly accurate picture, is there any conclusion which 
may be drawn ? 

If we examine the statistics of school population, enrollment, 
and average attendance, we are struck by the small increase of 
attendance over 40 years ago. From this standpoint, measured 
in terms of average attendance only, it would appear that some of 
these schools are not now more efficient than in earlier days. While 
they have been able to do well by the children in actual attendance, 
their per cent of social efficiency is lowered directly as they have 
failed to secure the enrollment and attendance of all the children of 



school age. In this respect the efficiency of the city school is but 
little better than that of the State as a whole, for we find that while 
the average attendance in Birmingham (40.8 per cent) and Mont- 
gomery (37.5 per cent) was larger in 1912-13 than the State average 
in 1911-12 (34.9 per cent), the attendance of Florence, Huntsville, 
Selma, and Tuscaloosa was less, and with this low attendance, 
reaching in no other city as much as the Birmingham average of 
40.8 per cent, what becomes of the excellent school terms of these 
cities extending from 174 to 180 days ? It means that the average 
length of the most efficient of them is really only 40.8 per cent of 
176 days, or the equivalent of 71.81 days. It would, perhaps, be 
impossible to present a more eloquent argument for compulsory 

In the matter of accommodations, most of the cities are woefully 
lacking, some of them having less than 50 per cent of the seating 
capacity that a compulsory-attendance law would require. This 
means that little additional progress in the city systems can be 
expected until a constitutional amendment permits a special school 
tax to provide funds for the greater accommodations and increased 
equipment needed to provide for the new pupils that will be brought 
into the schools under any compulsory-attendance law. 

City school statistics, 1872-73 to 1912-13. 




03 § 


© . 






















2 266 

2 252 


2 1,120 

2 830 


2 247 
2 148 
2 880 











14, 133 




21, 862 
10, 811 

2 $1,260 

2 850 


2 9,336 

2 11,450 





2 7 

2 18 
2 14 



2 160 



2 164 

2 204 








2 $38. 75 
2 35. 41 





3 106.25 
3 161.00 

Huntsvllle 2 


Selma . . . 




Hrmt s ville 












48, 190 

21, 385 



















3 77. 60 

< 53. 50 
i 30. 00 

4 45. 00 
4 43. 00 
4 62. 00 
4 85. 41 

4 53. 90 
4 50. 25 
4 37. 50 
4 43. 00 




Mobile (County).... 


Selma . 






Mobile (County).... 










4 72. 72 
4 42. 50 


1 Figures for 1873-74. 

2 Figures for 1874-75. 

8 White teachers, presumably for the year, 
< White teachers, per month. 


City school statistics, 187^-73 to 1912-13— Contimied. 








<s . 










1893-94: i , 




















82, 556 




3 6, 771 
a 605 
3 1, 132 
3 1, 672 
3 17,451 
3 3,801 
3 2,477 

3 8,060 
3 19,051 
3 1,497 
3 2,596 
3 3, 086 
3 3,855 
3 25,720 
3 5,965 
3 3,654 
















17, 021 

107, 969 


37, 173 

34, 727 





2 $48. 00 
2 41. 43 
2 45. 91 


Mobile (County).... 






1, 550 
















2 78. 30 







Mobile (County) 






2 48. 39 
























2 62. 00 



Mobile (County) ... 





























"3," 380" 













1906-7: 5 











13, 421 

24, 191 







92, 124 


33, 916 



2 62.24 
2 75.64 
2 56. 11 
2 63.08 
2 47. 42 






Mobile (County) 6 .. 






1912-13: 8 
























Mobile (City) 

424, 500 







1 Figures for 1892-93 not available. 

2 White teachers, per month. 

3 From State funds only. 

4 For white schools. 

» Figures for 1907-8 not available. 

6 For 1907-8. 

7 White male teachers oiily. 

8 Includes high schools. 


The organization of the pubUc schools for negroes is closely con- 
nected with the history of the corresponding white schools. 

Before the Civil War there were in the South no schools, as such, 
for negroes, but it would be a mistake to assume that negroes received 
no education. They did receive an educational training which was 
excellent in character, extensive in amount, and suited to their condi- 
tion of life. They were sometimes taught to read, write, and cipher; 



but they were particularly taught to shoe a horse, to weave cloth, 
and make clothes for themselves, to build houses, and to work along 
similar hnes. Their training, beyond the rudiments — and these 
were most often absent — was strictly industrial and of the very sort 
to make them most self-sustaining and independent when the end 
of the war brought freedom and the necessity of seK-dependence. 
It seems perfectly safe to say that of all the property accumu- 
lated by this race since the war, the greater part is traceable 
directly to the industrial training which they had received in the 
days of slavery. It is also worthy of note that the best educational 
thought of to-day, not among white educators only, but among lead- 
ing negro educators as well, is that this industrial education is what 
the negro needs for his best development. The presidents of the 
negro normal schools in Alabama — W. B. Paterson^ Wilham H. Coun- 
cil, and Booker T. Washington — have all held conspicuously to this 

With the coming of the Federal armies into Alabama came the 
Federal school-teacher. He — more generally and correctly speaking, 
she — ^was filled with enthusiasm for the slave, but ignorance of the 
situation made many of these teachers think that the prevailing 
forms of education were all that was needed to accomphsh the im- 
possible and set the former slave on the seat of equahty with the 
former master. For this reason institutions of the orthodox type, 
where Latin, Greek, and higher mathematics were offered to the ex- 
slaves in heu of the homely training needed to make them and their 
children masters of the economic situation in which they found 
themselves, sprang up over the State under the direction of mis- 
sionary societies and the Freedmen's Bureau. It would be unjust 
to say that these schools produced no good results, but at best the 
amount of good work actually accomplished is small when compared 
with the results that might have been obtained had they been started 
in the right direction. 

In the meantime the natural leaders of Alabama were not bhnd to 
the situation created by the collapse of the Confederacy and the free- 
ing of the slaves. Already there has been given a long list of lead- 
ers — natives and ex-Confederates — who, immediately alter the war, 
advocated the education of the negro. The board of education of the 
city of Mobile had actually begun its work of educating the negro 
before reconstruction was old enough to act. In June, 1868, it had 
four pubhc schools for negro children, with an attendance of 919, and 
a fifth school was organized during the autumn of that year. 

The negro schools, first organized as private philanthropy and 
financed by the Freedmen's Bureau or through contributions from 
the North, passed into the State pubhc school system soon after its 
reorganization in the summer of 1868. Under a working arrange- 
ment with those interested, the schooUiouses then in use and the 


teachers tlien employed became a part of the new system. The 
whole was administered as an integral part of the public schools and 
experienced about the same fortunes as those of the whites. This 
means that, while there was great clamor raised from time to time 
on their behalf, they were not entirely exempt from the difficulties 
which confronted all the schools of reconstruction times. Since 1875 
they have been on a safer and surer basis and have had a development 
not essentially unlike the schools for the whites. Funds are now 
distributed to the counties on the basis of school population; in so 
far as the State distribution to the counties is concerned, there is no 
distinction between races. 

The statistics for negro schools, so far as they can be differentiated 
in the pub he school reports, are presented with the other tables at 
the end of this bulletin. 

As we have seen, suitable and proper efforts were made during 
reconstruction to establish normal schools for negro teachers, and 
later came a series of teachers' institutes for the same purpose. Per- 
haps more attention was given to this phase of negro education than 
to any other, but there was still the tendency to evolve along the old 
orthodox lines. According to the State superintendent in 1876, for 
instance, the Normal School at Marion, successor to the Lincoln 
Memorial University there, was '^so liberally endowed by the State 
and furnished with a competent faculty as to afford to the colored 
race opportunities for acquirement of collegiate and university 
education." This statement is substantiated by the subjects taught 
there in 1879-80: Orthography, reading, writing, arithmetic, geogra- 
phy, grammar, history, botany, drawing, composition, vocal music, 
physiology, zoology, rhetoric, algebra, geometry, physics, Latin, 
Greek, chemistry, and French. The next year they had added: 
Penmanship, physical geogTaphy, trigonometry, geology, logic, 
English literature, school economy, and philosophy of education. 

Within the next four years, however, this school, under the direc- 
tion of Wilham B. Paterson, began to develop the industrial feature 
of its work, and progress was made in that direction, but it was thought 
desirable to keep this institution more closely to normal and higher 
educational hues, and on February 25, 1887, an act was passed ^ which 
provided for the removal of the Marion Normal to Montgomery 
and its reestablishment as the State Normal School and University 
for the Colored Race. It was conducted under these new auspices 
during the year 1887-88, and reached an enrollment of 358. With 
the second year it was organized into normal, preparatory, and 
industrial departments, and there was an enrollment of 500, but 
''no students presented themselves of sufficient attainments to profit 
by a college or university course of study." 

1 Law^ of 1886-87, p. 198. 


The law under which the school had been removed and reorganized 
was challenged, however, and came before the courts in the case of 
Elsberry v. Seay (83 Alabama Keports, 614). It was pronounced 
unconstitutional because it failed to make the school subject to the 
official supervision of the State superintendent. The court declared, 
further, that since the new institution was not in the commonly 
accepted sense a part of the pubUc school system, the money ^^set 
apart and appropriated from the school fund for the education of 
the colored people'' for its support was '^an unauthorized perversion 
of the funds from their own proper use," and therefore again uncon- 

As a result of this decision the school received for the year 1887-88, 
in addition to $500 from the Peabody fund, only $2,500 of the $7,500 
provided for its support by the State under the law of 1887, and 
during the year 1888-89 apparently received nothing at all from that 
source, although still conducted at Montgomery. A new law, passed 
February 23, 1889, again reorganized ^^the State Normal School and 
University for Colored Students, now at Marion, Perry County," as the 
State Normal School for Colored Students. It was again located at 
Montgomery, and since then has had a more or less uniform devel- 
opment along normal and industrial lines. It is now receiving 
$16,000 per year from the State, and is more distinctly a State insti- 
tution than either of the others, as practically all its funds are of 
local origin. 

The other institution for negroes, which has its roots in the period 
of reconstruction and has evolved into a useful institution of the 
present day, is the normal school located at Huntsville, which is now 
known as the Huntsville State Colored Normal and Industrial School, 
with its post office at Normal, Ala. It began industrial work about 
1884 and remained legally a simple normal school until the act of 
February 13, 1891, became a law. In accord with this act, the Mor- 
rill fund was divided between the white and colored citizens in the 
proportion of 56.6 per cent to the white Alabama Polytechnic Insti- 
tute at Auburn and 43.4 per cent to the colored institution at Hunts- 
ville. William H. Council was then at the head of the latter institu- 
tion and remained as such until his death. Under Mr. Council's 
direction the school did for the negroes of Alabama not only normal 
work, but also work along agricultural, mechanical, and industrial 
lines, and between the work at Normal and that at Tuskegee, Ala- 
bama has now a position of unrivaled leadership in negro education 
in the South. The detailed statistics of gTowth of these institutions by 
five-year periods will be found in the section on normal schools. 

It is worthy of note also that the original act under which Tuskegee 
was established had only a normal school of the orthodox type in 
mind. The act of February 10, 1881, provided for '^a normal school 


for the education of colored teachers," for the use of which $2,000 was 
set aside out of the funds coming to the colored children. 

This school was opened July 4, 1881, with 30 pupils. The courses 
as then offered were strictly preparatory and normal, but the trustees 
had brought to the school as principal a young teacher from Hampton 
Institute who was destined to help change the educational direction 
of the race and so bring it back toward the standard of antebellum 
training from which it was drifting. This young teacher was Booker 
T. Washington. ''From the first we have striven to make this a 
normal and industrial school," says the superintendent in his third 
report, and development went on regularly on these lines till 1893 
(February 21), when a supplementary act was passed which broad- 
ened the scope of the institute to '^the instruction of colored teachers 
and youth in the various common academic and collegiate branches, 
the best methods of teaching; the same, the best method of theoretical 
and practical industry in their application to agriculture and the 
mechanical arts." This act made the Tuskegee trustees an inde- 
pendent, self-perpetuating body, with large administrative powers. 
The State contribution to their work was raised to $3,000, and is 
now $4,500. 

Since that time, under the administration of Mr. Washington, the 
school has had a remarkable development. Its funds have been 
greatly increased by contributions from the Peabody and Slater 
funds, from the General Education Board, by money gifts from 
private individuals, and by public lands from the United States. 
At the present time the value of its plant equipment and its annual 
income are greater than those of any other institution in the State. 


The year 1907 will be marked in the history of Alabama public 
school education as one of the great years, for at that time the State 
took two steps forward by passing (Mar. 2, 1907) a State law for 
giving aid to rural schoolhouses, and at the special legislative session 
in the summer (Aug. 7) another law which laid the foundations for 
county high schools. 

The schoolhouse law provided that $67,000 should be set aparb 
annually out of the fund arising from the sale of fertilizer tags ''for 
the purpose of aiding in the erection or the repairing of rural school- 
houses." Of this sum, $1,000 was for the use of each county. It 
was provided that none of it could be used in any incorporated place. 
The school district must raise in advance not less than $100, and 
when this had been done there was contributed out of the special 
fund provided by the State for the county not more than the sum 
raised by the district and in no case more than $200. It was required 


that these houses be erected on grounds of not less than 2 acres in 
extent and that they be deeded to the St ate. ^ 

The result was instantaneous ; from all over the State came reports 
of developing interest in schoolhouses. Many new ones were erected 
by means of this State aid ; old ones were repaired, and in many cases, 
patrons and school officials being unwilhng to surrender title to the 
property, erected new houses or enlarged and improved old ones out 
of private means. In some counties the number built or repaired by 
private means was as large as that from pubHc funds. 

The statistics on this subject for the last eight years, beginning 
with the year before the schoolhouse law was enacted and coming 
do^vn to the present time, speak most eloquently of progress. 

The total number of rural communities thus aided in 1910-11 was 
1,293; in 1911-12 it was 1,393, and the total number was then 6,157. 
One aspect of this matter, however, is not so pleasing ; by an examina- 
tion of the report for 1910-11, it will be seen that while most of the 
counties had gladly made use of their appropriations, others had used 
little or none of this fund. On October 1, 1911, 2 counties had more 
than $4,000 each to their credit; 4 had more than $3,000; 9 more than 
$2,000, and 16 more than $1,000. Of those counties, Mobile was 
prevented from acting by legal technicahties ; the others 'Haken as a 
whole * * * present about the poorest showing in the way of 
suitable rural school buildings of any counties in Alabama." Such 
was the judgment of the superintendent in 1910-11. According to 
the report for 1911-12, the same tendency seems to have been 
accentuated in those counties rather than ameliorated. The coun- 
ties thus ''slow to take advantage of the provisions of this law" lie 
mainly within what is known in the State as the black belt. 

With few exceptions these same counties have not levied the 1-mill county school 
tax. Having grown out of the habit of helping themselves in supporting their own 
schools, these counties are somewhat slow in spending their own money in order to 
receive the State's assistance in erecting better-built school buildings. 

It may be that while they own the larger part of the unexpended 
surplus derived from the State, they are unable in some locahties to 
raise the necessary local funds to meet the State requirements. On 
this point the superintendent says in 1911-12: 

Very little money up to this time has been recommended by the county boards for 
use in either building or repairing schoolhouses for negroes. It is pleasing, however, 
to note an apparent disposition on the part of county boards to place this State aid in 
the future in a larger measure for the benefit of the negro schools. In the black-belt 
counties, where a large part of this fund remains unexpended, the schoolhouses are 
among the poorest in the State, except in the villages. The better class of negroes 
will not much longer be content to keep their families on these black-belt farms unless 
the county boards make provisions through the privileges of this law to let the State 
aid those negro communities for the education of their children. 

1 Law of Mar. 3, 1907, p. 174. 



The report for 1912-13 shows that 326 schoolhouses received aid 
from the State to the amount of $51,402. They were located in 63 
counties, and only 4 counties reported no money spent for school- 
houses. ^'According to the reports of the several counties, however, 
there is yet a large number of rural schoolhouses uncomfortable, 
unfurnished, and whoUy unsuited for use." 

In 1913-14 the sum of $74,521 was expended in 65 counties. 

The growing influence of the law may be shown in a general way 
by the following statistics of values: 

Value of public school property. 


Value public schoolhouses. 

Value school furniture. 

Number schoolhouses 
uncomfortable in 












6, 475, 771 
6, 584, 452 

S144, 240 
374, 835 
432, 710 
533, 033 
589, 548 

4, 591, 880 
6, 682, 446 
7, 192, 786 


1907-8 1 





459, 142 
581, 705 

86, 515 
59, 438 

668, 220 
586, 652 
606, 795 
693, 710 







1 First year under new law. 

Another matter which has contributed to the advancement of the 
public rural schools, by separating and individualizing their work, 
was the appointment of a rural school supervisor, an officer 
whose expenses are borne by the Peabody educational fund. The 
choice of the State superintendent for this important position fell 
upon N. R. Baker, who made his first report for the school year 
1911-12. His time was devoted almost entirely to four phases of the 
problem: Grading, closer supervision, the articulation of the various 
grades one with another, and vitalization of school work. 

He reports that some 60 per cent of the rural schools had been 
graded up to October 1, 1911, and he thought that by October 1, 1913, 
90 per cent would have been graded, this opinion being based upon 
'' actual observation and inquiry among teachers, and the estimates of 
many county superintendents," and it was said ' ^nearly all counties are 
now using the uniform course of study suggested by the State depart- 
ment of education." When we turn to the last report of Mr. Baker, 
that dated November 17, 1913, we find that among other matters 
promising, in the opinion of the supervisor, to advance the interests 
of the country schools, besides grading, are improvement of the 
teaching force, more rural supervision, encouragement of school fairs 
and libraries, reading circles, consolidation, better sanitation, night 
lectures, and the issue of '^ diplomas" to schools possessing certain 
requirements of equipment, administration, and vitalizing agencies. 


The work of Mr. Baker has been confined to supervision of white 
rural schools. In 1913 the general education board made provision 
for a State supervisor of negro schools. Mr. James L. Sibley was 
appointed, and entered upon his work in March, 1913. The latest 
report shows 1,918 rural negro schools in the State, of which 1,783 
are one-room schools. ''The crying need of these schools is super- 
vision," says the supervisor, who then continues: 

Nearly 50 per cent of the county superintendents reported last year that they did 
not visit a single negro school. * * * It is almost impossible for a superintendent 
to \dsit all of his white and colored schools. * * * What those superintendents 
need is competent assistants to help them in this work of supervision. * * * Every 
county superintendent who has a number of negro schools in his county should have a 
colored assistant to help in the work of supervision. * * * It would pay every 
county board to employ such a person, preferably a colored woman, with industrial 
training, to assist the count}' superintendent. In about 100 counties of the Southern 
States this past year there were employed, out of the Jeanes fund, colored teachers to 
act as assistants to the county superintendents, and to stress industrial work. Alabama 
had 16 of these working in 17 counties. 

He then proposed that the counties employ, as they were allowed 
to do under the law in effect October 1, 1913, such supervisors out 
of their own funds. 

Experience has shown that, on the whole, women make better supervising industrial 
teachers than men, owing to their ability to reach the homes of the children. It is 
recommended that these women be employed for 12 months dming the year, devoting 
their time in the winter months to the schools while they are in session, and to canning 
clubs, corn clubs, and community work in the simimer. 

It was thought the negroes themselves would be able to pay $100 
to $150 on the salary of such supervising teacher and that the 
county should pay from one-half to two-thirds of the whole. Few 
Government reports are more inspiring than this of Mr. Sibley. 
After discussing teachers' institutes and farm demonstration work 
with some detail, he concludes: 

The kind of education the negro needs is that which will react on his home. In 
fact, that is the kind all classes need. Women should know how to make and care for 
ahome. Men should be able to provide for one and maintain it. To do this efficiently, 
both men and women need moral, intellectual, and vocational training. 

In September, 1914, ^Ir. Baker became assistant superintendent 
of schools in Jefferson County. He was succeeded by Prof. J. B. 
Hobdy, and under a new arrangement all of the rural school work, 
both white and black, wiU be inspected by both supervisors. Of 
no less importance than the supervisory work carried on under the 
auspices of the Peabody fund and the General Education Board 
is the administration of the law of April 18, 1911, which provides 
that county superintendents may be employed on fuU time and 
placed on a salary instead of a percentage basis. A recent decision 
of the supreme court upholds the constitutionaUty of the law, and 
it became fully operative for the first time in 19 13-14. ^ Thirty- 

1 See Alabama reports. 


niQe counties now have paid supervisors who devote their whole time 
to the work. The result is that many schools which were formerly 
visited seldom are now visited regularly. In 1912-13 there were 
2,640 visits paid to white schools and 544 to negro schools; in 1913-14 
the numbers were 6,528 and 1,329. An immediate result of this 
supervision has been a closer grading. In 1912-13 there were 3,226 
graded white schools and 1,040 graded negro schools; in 1913-14 the 
numbers were 4,331 and 1,497. Since the total number of city and 
rural schools in the State is given as 6,753, we may assume that 925, 
or 13.7 per cent, are stiU ungraded. Of the teachers in these schools, 
857 white and 117 negro hold life certificates; 1,515 and 29 hold 
first-grade certificates; 2,689 and 510, second grade; 2,256 and 1,754, 
third grade. 

No phase of the rural school work has been of more value perhaps 
than that undertaken by the School Improvement Association, a 
voluntary organization of women first begun about 1905. This has 
now spread into nearly every section of the State and has enlisted 
the special and direct attention of parents and others in the work of 
the schools, as was not the case in earlier years. It raised and 
expended in 1913-14 the sum of $86,928 in the physical betterment 
of white public schoolhouses and grounds, an increase of 27 per cent 
over the former year, and $7,603 for colored schools, an increase of 
78 per cent. The influence of the movement has been far wider than 
the mere money raised. It has awakened in many sections a sort of 
proprietary interest in the schools. It has gained a local support 
which in turn ''has worked wonders in many communities in the 
improved appearances and in the added comfort of the schoolhouses 
and the grounds about them, together with equipment in desks and 
other necessary furnishings." It has made its influence felt in legisla- 
tion and has assisted in the development of rural libraries for children, 
and in some sections has gone still further, in organizing rural lyceums 
for the older people. It promises, in fact, to be a real and safe begin- 
ning to the problem of the socialization of rural communities which, 
by reason of isolation, have long suffered from an excess of indi- 
vidualism. Not only has the School Improvement Association 
organized the forces for the school, but it has kept them organized 
for the home and the summer vacations, for out of its activities have 
come, in part at least, such supplemental courses in industrial and 
vocational training as are represented by corn clubs, tomato and 
canning clubs, pig and poultry clubs, health clubs, domestic-science 
and domestic-art clubs, and similar organizations. These have added 
practicability to the school work, given to its members the power 
which comes from doing, and developed a new source of income from 
the proceeds of these activities.^ 

1 See interesting reports of tiie work of the school improvement association in the proceedings of the 
Alahama Educational Association for 1908, 170-193; 1909, 231-247; 1910, 269-287; 1911, 165-172, etc. 



Perhaps no law which has for its object the intellectual advance- 
ment of the people has accomplished more within the time than the 
rural-libraries law enacted by the legislature in 1911. 

The movement of which this library law is a development seems 
to have come out of the Alabama Library Association, organized in 
1904, and of which Dr. Thomas M. Owen has been continuously 
president. It holds annual meetings, discusses the popular and 
professional side of library work, and seeks to develop all phases of 
the public library. 

Through its influence the legislature in 1907 revised and extended 
the duties of the department of State archives and history and made 
it in all but name a State library commission. It provided that the 
department shall assist — 

in the establishment of public and school libraries and in the improvement and 
strengthening of those already in existence; it shall give advice and provide assistance 
to libraries and library workers in library administration, methods, and economy; and 
it shall conduct a system of traveling libraries. 

Then came the Alabama Teachers' Reading Circle, organized in 
1909 for the purpose of encouraging general and professional reading 
among the teachers of the State. In 1910 it changed its name and 
widened its scope so as to admit the young people of the State to 
the advantages of its leadership, and the school library law of 1911, 
proposed by Supt. Willingham and pushed through the legislature 
because of his initiative was a natural and necessary evolution. 

This law, passed April 13, 1911, and applicable only to communities 
of less than 1,000 inhabitants, provided that $6,700 for the State ^ — 
$100 for each county — should be devoted to library purposes. It was 
to be appropriated by the proper county courts in sums of $10 to such 
school districts as should raise $10 for a similar purpose. To thesj 
sums the county was to add $10 more, and the whole sum of $30 was 
to be devoted to ^Hhe purpose of establishing, maintaining, enlarging, 
or improving public libraries in rural, village, or town schools." 
This law was probably copied from a similar one in force in North 
Carolina, but it is a patent improvement on its prototype for the 
reason that it makes these sums available annually. 

The passage of the law awakened remarkable interest in the sub- 
ject throughout the State and its results were quickly manifest. 

The report for 1910-11 showed 468 public school libraries for 
whites and 47 for negro pupils. They had 83,152 and 3,723 volumes, 
respectively, and were worth $66,615 and $2,060. In 1913-14 these 

1 Made available March 15, 1912. 
75075°— 15 12 


figures had risen to 1,418 and 55 libraries, with 171,288 and 3,044 
volumes and valued at $107,273 and $2,040. Says Supt. Willingham : 

No legislation on the statute books is apparently doing more good in its operation 
for the money expended. * ^ * The prospects for the current year in the execu- 
tion of this library law are highly promising. A large majority of country boys and 
girls have but little opportunity of broadening their vision through travel, while many 
of the homes of these youth are not plentifully supplied with valuable and attractive 
literature. ^ "^ "^ During the year closed there were 3,048 teachers studying sys- 
tematically the books selected for the Teachers' Reading Circles. This was an increase 
of about 1,000 over the number of teachers thus following a course of self-improvement 
during the preceding year. Teachers who themselves read systematically include, 
for the most part, those who foster and encourage systematic reading on the part of their 

In 1912 the superintendent published an Alabama library list of 
1,600 books, carefully prepared and annotated by Dr. Thomas M. 
Owen, director of the department of archives and history. It was 
revised and extended by him and republished in 1913, and is intended 
to serve as a basis for the purchase of school collections and — 

to anticipate the growing aspiration of the several communities which will avail them- 
selves of the provisions of the law, as well as to afford a list for teachers, high-school 
libraries, small public libraries, and others. 

That this progressive action on the part of the State will have 
good effect on the larger libraries is shown by a recent announcement 
that the library board of Birmingham is now (1914) entering upon a 
campaign to raise a fund of approximately $50,000 to be used in the 
purchase of such new books as will bring the city library system up 
to modern standards.^ 


These schools, the beginning of whose organization dates from 
about 1888, seem to have been the least successful of the State's 
efforts. And yet the very things which caused their comparative 
failure pointed out in the most emphatic way the needs of the State 
at that time, but the legislature failed to read the lesson aright or to 
interpret it at aU, for the time of awakening had not yet come. 
The purpose of the legislature in creating them was to make them 
centers for agricultural education. They were the forerunners of 
the present development of education along the lines of agriculture, 
industrial, and vocational training. In this respect the legislature 
was ahead of the people, but the latter knew well enough what they 
wanted. They took these agricultural institutions and developed 
them into high schools of the classical type. These schools had 
made themselves sufficiently felt to be mentioned in the superin- 
tendent's report in 1892-1894. The oldest was that for the eighth 
district and was — 

1 See Library Journal, December, 1913, and January, 1914. 


pleasantly situated in one of the prettiest groves within the corporate limits of the 
classic city of Athens. * * ^ The college building is a handsome two-story brick, 
and the main building for the boarding department is a splendid two-story struc- 
ture, in which the president and his family live with the boarding pupils, giving 
it more the appearance of a large family than of a boarding school. * * ^- The 
school has now, besides the regular college course, departments of music, art, and 
elocution. The military feature is used as a means of discipline. 

The school at Albertville (seventh district), established in 1892-93 
and opened in 1894, was similar in character. It reported four depart- 
ments — primary, intermediate, preparatory, and collegiate. It, too, 
had provision for elocution, art, and music, but none for agriculture. 

The school at Evergreen (second district), also estabhshed in 
1892-93 and opened in 1894, was known as the Southwest Alabama 
Agricultural School and Experiment Station. The administrators 
in control of this school alone seem to have had an idea of the real 
purpose of the organization. It was located on a farm of 50 acres, 
and the ''definite and well-defined object" which it had in view was 
to found a school — 

where young men who expect to become farmers may be taught the fundamental 
principles of scientific agriculture ^ ^ * and where tests of the analyses of soils 
and fertilizers may be made, and where experiments may be conducted in the growth 
of grains, fruits, vegetables, vines, grasses, and in dairy making and stock raising. 
^ * * This school, while denominated agricultural, is not strictly so, as all the 
other sciences, together with the classics, music, art, and a normal or training depart- 
ment, will be included in its curriculum, and its doors are open to both sexes and 
pupils of all grades. 

These schools evidently made an honest effort to comply with the 
purpose of the legislature. They failed, but yet their evolution into 
this type is perfectly logical. The people made them serve what 
they felt was at that time their greatest need, irrespective of mere 
name. They changed them from delocahzed institutions intended 
to serve a whole congressional district to purely local ones with a 
local patronage and organized them to suit their own needs, for in 
1900-1901 the total patronage of the schools reached 2,243, divided 
as follows: College, 881; preparatory, 363; primary, 999. 

This development caused dissatisfaction, and a law of 1903 sought 
to restore them to their original purpose by putting the whole under 
a single board of control, to which was added for service in connection 
with that particular school a number of local trustees. 

Being thus delocalized they went back to their original plan and 
have been developing since along their original lines. Says the 
superintendent in 1911-12: 

The course of study * * * has been made more practical in that the subject 
of agriculture appears to be emphasized more strongly than at any time in the history 
of these schools. A few of them, however, seem to be having some difficulty in 
impressing the fact of their usefulness upon the minds of the public, who are not 


responding with that patronage which it seems these schools should draw. There 
is no sort of doubt that every one -5^ * ^ has a most important function to per- 
form in the teaching of practical scientific agriculture. 

In response to this feeling of dissatisfaction there has been a 
formal effort to bring them still nearer to the original purpose for 
which they were organized. Says the superintendent in the 1912-13 
report : 

Last summer at the close of the year's work the board of control of these schools 
reorganized completely the course of study, with a view to making agriculture and agri- 
cultural instruction both in theory and practice the paramount consideration for 
every student connected with these institutions. Whatever criticism the public 
may have made of these district schools was based upon the theory that they were 
not doing the full amount of agricultural work intended by the law establishing 
them. The board believes that the complete reorganization of the course of study 
upon which these schools have entered for the year now begun will remove all basis 
for reasonable complaint of this kind. 

The statistics of these schools may be presented as follows from the 
superintendent's reports. It is not till 1892-1894 that they became 
of sufficient importance to attract the attention of the superintendent, 
and the material available is at best incomplete and variable in 




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Agricultural education brings us naturally to our next subject — 
industrial education in primary and secondary schools. The training 
of defectives dates back to 1852, although no successful work was 
done until 1858, when the Alabama Deaf and Dumb Asylum was 
organized. It survived the shock of war, and about 1869 a depart- 
ment for the blind was added. This training was of necessity largely 
industrial in character. 

In 1872 the A. & M. College, now known as the Alabama Polytechnic 
Institute, was organized and offered instruction along industrial lines 
to such young white men as had already made some educational 
progress. Then, in the eighties, came the Marion, Huntsville, and 
Tuskegee schools, which offered to negro boys and girls such indus- 
trial training as they were prepared to follow to advantage. Then 
the organization of agricultural schools was intended to carry this 
training further down the line a'nd give it to those white boys who were 
not able or not prepared to profit by college courses, so that before 
1890 every class of youth in Alabama, including the defectives, had 
had some line of industrial training open to them except the white 
girls of the State. For them nothing was available except the teach- 
ers' courses in the normal schools. To call attention to this situation 
was to inaugurate a movement for a change. 

On January 1, 1895, an act went into effect which created an Indus- 
trial School for White Girls. The act provided a board of trustees 
consisting of the governor, the superintendent of education, the 
auditor, one from each congressional district and two from the State at 
large. In this school girls were to be educated '4n industrial and 
scientific branches'' and might acquire there — 

a thorough normal-school education, together with a knowledge of kindergarten 
instruction and music ; also a knowledge of telegraphy, stenography, photography, and 
phonography, typewriting, printing, bookkeeping, in-door carpentry, electrical con- 
struction, clay modeling, architectural and mechanical drawing, sewing, dressmaking, 
millinery, cooking, laundry, house, sign and fresco painting, home nursing, plumbing, 
and such other practical industries as from time to time to them may be suggested by 
experience or tend to promote the general object of "^ * * fitting and preparing 
such girls for the practical industries of the age. 

The sum of $5,000 was appropriated for the first year; $10,000 for 
the second; $15,000 each for 1897 and 1898. The school was located 
at Montevallo, in Shelby County, and was opened October 12, 1896. 
The enrollment thefirst year was 227, divided into five courses, known as 
normal, business, industrial arts, domestic science, and college courses. 
In 1897-98 the enrollment was 368, with 38 graduates. There 
were then 21 teachers, and while the total appropriation to that date 
amounted to $45,000, property had been accumulated worth $46,279. 
In 1899-1900 the attendance was 400, and it was said that the institu- 


tion had reached the lunit of its capacity in the accommodation of 
pupils. The school term was now lengthened to eight months and a 
dairy farm was established. In 1906 the State superintendent said 
that the usefulness of the institution was being retarded by lack of 
buildings and equipment, but that it was placing a secondary educa- 
tion within the reach of many girls who would otherwise be unable to 
secure it and that it was 'teaching useful industries by which the 
girls may make a living should necessity require it." While this 
school, like most others, has not had a career of uninterrupted devel- 
opment, its course has been generally upward. It has widened its 
vision, extended its courses, and increased its requirements, and as it 
has thus extended its purview it has passed further and further from 
the scope of the present study. Its widening ambition is voiced in 
the change of name in 1911 from the Girls Industrial School to the 
Alabama Girls' Technical Institute, the purpose now being evidently 
to do for the secondary and higher education of women what the 
Alabama Polytechnic Institute at Auburn is doing for men. This 
wider horizon is reflected in its statistics for 1912-13. It had 525 
pupils, with 39 instructors. It enjoyed a total income of $116,811, of 
which $56,506 was principally from the endowment of funds given the 
institution by the Federal Government and $36,000 was from the 
State. It had a library of 5,900 volumes, and its total equipment was 
valued at $593,500. In 1913-14 the library contained 6,000 volumes 
and 2,000 pamphlets and was valued at $6,000. The report for 
1910-11 says that: 

Former pupils of this school are meeting with the highest success in all the walks of 
life open to women. The training they receive here specially prepares them for 
teaching, and hundreds of them are filling positions in the public and private schools. 
* * * Technical courses are now being introduced in many of the public schools, 
and this will increase the demand for teachers trained in this school. Many former 
students are taking high rank in various industrial pursuits as bookkeepers, stenog- 
raphers, milliners, dressmakers, nurses, florists, etc. The crowning work of the school, 
however, is the splendid preparations for home life. 

Within the last few years other institutions, some for boys, others 
for girls, have come to the front and are making themselves felt in the 
widening educational field. One of these is the coeducational North- 
east Alabama Agricultural and Industrial Institute, located at Line- 
ville, Clay County, which for the year 1912-13 reports 596 pupils, half 
of them in the elementary grades. It offers courses in normal training 
and domestic science; has property worth $34,260, and had an income 
for the year of $7,896, of which $3,000 came from the State. 

Another institution giving industrial training is the Alabama 
(White) Boys Industrial School, East Lake, near Birmingham. This 
institution is essentially reformatory in character, and grew out of a 
private enterprise subventioned by the State. In 1901-2 it received 
$15,000 for the two years; 1903-1906 this sum was increased to $8,000 


per year; during the next quadrennium it reached $20,000 per year, 
and in 1911 the sum was made elastic and fixed at $150 per pupil. In 
1912-13 it had 291 pupils and enjoyed an income of $45,400, of which 
$43,200 came from the State. Its property is valued at $126,000. 
Efforts to interest the State in a similar institution for girls failed 
to meet with approval in 1907.^ 

The Alabama School for Deaf and Blmd offers classes in manual 
training, and in 1912-13 enjoyed an income of $80,559, practically all 
of which was from the State. 

It will be noted that these schools, and the district agricultural 
schools as well, offer their courses mainly to secondary pupils, but the 
tendency is more and more clearly marked to introduce the elements 
of agriculture and industrial work into the grades, and thus correlate 
more closely the work of the schools with the actual duties of life. 


Up to the year 1907 the history of public high schools in Alabama 
had not been diifereot from what it was ia other Southern States. 
There were no public high schools except as attempts had been made 
to evolve them here and there as a part of the school system of 
various cities. There had been and were then successful high schools 
in operation in the State, but they were private or denominational. 
The pupil who lived in the country or in any except a few of the 
larger towns must secure his high-school training from private insti- 
tutions. In fact, as late as 1886 the Alabama Educational Associa- 
tion was stiU discussing how far the State should aid ''high schools, 
normal schools, and colleges." The right of the State to do this was 
denied by at least one speaker, who makes a bitter attack on such 
State aid, being evidently inspired to take this view by the private 
school interests, which had a practical monopoly of the country and 
were comparatively well organized. On the other hand, the public 
high school system, even in the towns and cities, was disjointed and 
fragmentary. There was little official connection and little correla- 
tion between the State-supported public school at the bottom and the 
State-supported university at the top of the educational system. 
Each part was independent of and received little or no help from the 

But the University of Alabama, then under the presidency of 
John W. Abercrombie, saw the necessity of bridging the chasm 
between the primary schools and the higher institutions. How 
could it do this without money ? President Abercrombie was fortu- 
nately able to interest the authorities of the General Education 
Board, who agreed to furnish the university with the necessary 
funds for a professorship of secondary education. When the posi- 

1 See L aws, 1907, p. 185. 



tion was filled the choice fell on ^Ir. Joel C. Du Bose, who, in 1905, 
nominally as an associate professor of secondary education in the 
university, in reality as an advance agent for the institution, took the 
field in an effort to inaugurate a movement looking to a system of 
State high schools. ^Ir. Du Bose spent two years ^ traveling over 
the State, visiting many schools in many locahties and preaching the 
doctrine of a more extended school system. This had its due effect, 
and the assembly on August 7, 1907,^ passed a law which laid the 
foundation for a high school in each county. 

Under the high-school law of 1907 a high-school commission, con- 
sisting of the governor, auditor, and superintendent of education, 
was appointed to locate one high school in each county. The 
counties were required to furnish 5 acres of land, on which they were 
to erect a building worth not less than $5,000. The whole was to 
be deeded to the State. These schools were to be under the control 
of the county board of education; rules and regulations for the 
government and employment of teachers were placed in the hands 
of the high-school commission. The teachers in these high schools 
were required to have a first-grade or Ufe certificate, and all matricu- 
lates were to pass ^' a satisfactory examination in the branches of 
free public instruction in the elementary schools." A matricula- 
tion fee of $2.50 might be charged. For the years 1908-9 and 1909-10 
the schools received from the State $2,000 each. Beginning with 
July 1, 1911, this amount was increased to $3,000. 

The result of this law was that a keen rivalry sprang up among 
the various towns and villages for the purpose of securing these 
schools. Some locahties were disappointed in their ambition, but 
they erected houses and organized high schools in spite of their 
failure to secure State funds. In this way also the towns were 
enabled to differentiate and extend their high-school departments, 
and the demand for State funds and for county high schools was 
more than the State could supply. 

Statistics of county high schools. 


Number of county high schools 

Value of property 

Number of teachers 

Number of students 

Number of boarding students 

Number in average attendance 

State appropriation 

Town appropriation 

County board of education appropriation. 

Miscellaneous sources 

Total income 

Total paid teachers 

Total expenses 

Total volumes in libraries 

Length of term in days 







$42, 000 

$5, 820 

$1, 100 

$1, 774 

$50, 694 

$45, 666 







$60, 500 

$5, 424 

$7, 875 

$7, 907 





$438, 792 






$5, 693 

S13, 199 


$104, 347 

$88, 007 

$99, 641 


1911-12 1912-13 


$554, 637 






$4, 457 


$19, 986 

$158, 641 


$148, 565 










$2, 604 


$29, 922 


$159, 359 




















He resigned Oct. 1, 1907. 

2 See Revised Code of 1907. 


It will be noted that there are included in the number of matricu- 
lates in some schools a number of seventh-grade pupils. This is a 
provision made by law to meet the needs of pupils in certain counties 
whose primary schools have not as yet risen to the requisite standard, 
and it did milch to popularize these schools with the masses. 

As high-school salaries go in the Southern States the pay of the 
principals in these county high schools has been very good. Only one 
county paid less than $1,100 in 1912-13, while 23 paid $1,500; Hous- 
ton County paid $1,575; Marengo, $1,855; and Bibb, $2,000. The 
total amount of income varies from $3,200 in Cleburne to $8,078 in 
Dale (1912-13). 

With the organization of these high schools, it has been possible to 
bridge over the chasm which formerly existed between the public 
schools and the university. They maintain a full four-year high- 
school course, and with their development and growth the whole 
scheme of education wiU be complete. Candidates for college can 
now in most counties secure the necessary preparation within reason- 
able distance of their homes. 

The patronage, when analyzed, shows that as yet, and as might 
be expected, about two pupils are from the home locality to every one 
coming from a distance. But the field of patronage is widening, and 
that the schools are growing in general favor is illustrated when we 
note that the 32 schools organized in 1909-10 then had 1,816 pupils 
and that the same schools had in 1912-13 3,015 pupils. 

Careful courses of study ^ have been worked out for these schools 
which are ^^ directed toward giving each student as far as possible a 
suitable training for the duties and responsibilities of good citizen- 
ship." For this reason they are made thoroughly practical and at the 
same time fit their graduates, of which there were 299 in 1913, 'Ho 
meet fully all the college entrance requirements." 

Prof. James S. Thomas, of the department of secondary education 
in the University of Alabama on the foundation established by the 
General Education Board, has been appointed State inspector for the 
county, town, and city high schools. There has been associated with 
him in this work Prof. J. K. Rutland as representative of the Alabama 
Polytechnic Institute. The value of their services is evident. They 
make weekly or monthly reports to the university and the State 
superintendent on the actual conditions; the course of study is made 
uniform, and the constant visits of the inspectors enable the State 
through its high-school commission to maintain a common standard 
as to the quality of the instruction given. 

1 Published in 1910. 

Chapter Xn. 

Just 60 years ago the State of Alabama made its first formal essay 
toward a State-supported and State-administered public-school sys- 
tem. During this period there have been many ups and downs of 
educational fortune, but there has been progress. What, in brief, 
have been the main characteristics of the educational experience of 
60 years ? 

The pubhc-school system of Alabama is based primarily on the 
grant by Congress of the sixteenth sections to the State for educa- 
tional purposes. These sections were granted to the people of the 
respective townships, although it has been judicially decided that 
the title vested in the State for the benefit of these townships. 

The grant did not mean that a great educational fund was estab- 
lished in the State, to be administered by the State as a unit, directed, 
controlled, and used by it under such conditions as would best pro- 
mote pubHc education as a whole. It did mean that there were 
potentialities present in the shape of wild lands which in time, under 
good management, might be developed and converted into such a 
fund. The Federal Government furnished the raw material out of 
which this educational fund was to come. The people of Alabama 
through their assembly were expected to furnish the machinery and 
the men by whom these results were to be attained. But the people 
of Alabama of that day were pioneers and State builders; they were 
neither financiers nor educationists. As a result the blunders that 
resulted might have been predicted in part at least. 

First of all, it was necessary to sell the best of these lands and 
invest the proceeds so as to lay the foundations for productive income. 
The infant State was under the practical necessity of creating a cir- 
culating medium, and the hne of investment that promised a circu- 
lating medium and an income on the fund at the same time was 
through the State bank, estabhshed with branches in various sections 
of the State. During the thirties speculation was rife all over the 
Union. Fortunes were quickly and easily made in Alabama as 
elsewhere. All available school funds seem to have gone into the 
State bank, and so great were its earnings that it was found possible 
in 1836 to abolish State taxation and to rely on the State bank to 
meet the expenses of government. In 1839, since prosperity was 



still continuing, the assembly went still further and required the 
State bank to contribute $150,000 annually to the support of a public- 
school system as yet unorganized. In 1840 the annual requirement 
was raised to $200,000. This sum may be regarded in part as an 
annual and just interest on the pubHc-school fund invested in the 
State bank as a part of its capital stock and in part as a participation 
of the school system along with other departments of the State 
goyernment in the amazing, if temporary, success of one of its sub- 
ordinate activities. 

The situation in 1839 was therefore anomalous; by a series of for- 
tunate investments — speculations we might almost say — the State 
suddenly found itself in possession of an annual income of from 
$150,000 to $200,000 for exclusive ase in the promotion of an educa- 
tional system which had never yet been organized and of which those 
in authority knew practically nothing. In this dilemma, caused b}^ 
the absence of knowledge and of organization, the State seems to 
have been content to distribute such funds as came into its hands 
among such private and denominational schools as then existed in 
the State. The funds thus distributed seem to have been only 
complementary to those coming from private sources, and no con- 
trolling and directing interest was asserted by the State or recognized 
by the recipients. The net result seems to have been that by this 
use of the pubhc funds they were practically dissipated, and so 
contributed little or nothing to the evolution of a public-school system. 
The only permanent gain was the knowledge, based on experience, 
that the pubhc-school system must be organized with the State, 
not the individual, as the predominant partner. 

To this failure in administration was now added a stiU more serious 
misfortune in the practical loss of the principal of the sixteenth 
section funds with the failure of the State bank. 

Perhaps the most natural result of this experience of a generation 
was an inevitable association in the public mind of the idea of public 
schools and sixteenth section funds. The former seemed to depend 
entirely on the latter. They were supported out of its income and 
without such income they were not even considered. The idea of 
the pubhc school was that of an institution with an independent 
source of support coming to the people from without, not from within. 
To the people of Alabama the public school was at that time not an 
evolution, it was an importation, supported by a fund of outside 
origin. It is possible that this fact will explain in part the conserva- 
tism of the people even to-day in the matter of allowing local taxes 
for the support of the system, and it may be that the loss of the 
principal of the sixteenth section fund with the failure of the State 
bank and the resulting necessity of raising the annual interest out of 
taxes instead was not an unmixed evil. It certainly tended to arouse 


the people to a realization that the system was their own, whatever 
it was. It made the success or failure of the system now vital and 
personal to every man who thought. The wasting of a Federal gift 
might be venial, but the wasting of State taxes was mortal. 

It is evident that to the middle-of-the-century aristocratic slave- 
holder of Alabama few things could be more foreign than the idea 
of pubHc taxation for schools. He had been educated in a private, 
denominational, or endowed institution. He had paid for the 
instruction received. He was both wilHng and able to pay for the 
education of his own children, and for these reasons he was willing 
to let the pubhc-school fund go for the education of those less finan- 
cially able. He would subscribe to the pubUc school for his own chil- 
dren and allow the pubHc money to go to the poorer members of 
society, for to him the pubMc money, even if raised by taxation on 
himseM and his peers, savored of the outside, of Federal influence and 
of centrahzation, terms all hateful to men who were sufficient unto 
themselves and who lived and ruled within their own domain. By 
mere contrast with this point of view, to the poor man the State 
bounty came to savor of pubfic charity; in his individual pride he 
characterized the pubfic system as a pauper system, whose service 
an exaggerated and undue self-respect frequently forbade him to 
accept. The slaveholder probably did not, as a rule, emphasize 
the charity idea ; he rather waived his right as a matter of generosity 
to the less fortunate. It was the poor man, not his wealthy neighbor, 
who characterized the public schools as a pauper system. 

Again, the question of pubfic schools involved the still larger 
question of an extension of State activities and a further centraliza- 
tion of power. The people of the State were strict constructionists 
of the theory of Federal power, and what applied to the United States 
Government appfied almost equally as weU to the State government. 
Decentralization was the watchword, and the nearer this reached the 
individual the better. The very theory of a State-supported and 
State-controUed system of pubfic education was foreign to the ideas 
of the rank and file of the men of that day. That this is true is made 
evident by a perusal of the pubfic utterances of the leaders of the 
time. For years they had urged that such steps be taken by the State, 
but the people were exceedingly slow to advance in that direction, 
as their legislative proceedings wiU show. The reasons for this 
slowness are based perhaps as much on a strict interpretation of the 
constitution as on indifference. 

The total result of the first generation of deafing with sixteenth 
section lands and pubfic schools may be summed up in a single word — 
experience. The people had experimented in administering the six- 
teenth section lands, also in investing the funds derived from these 
lands, and had lost. They had sold their best lands, they had invested 


the money in stock of the State bank, and the bank had failed. The 
net result was that what was intended as a productive fund for 
certain townships, became, in the form of a paper fund, a charge on 
all, the interest on which, if paid, would come in due proportion from 
the counties least able to bear and go in part to those most able to do 
without, and all this because of the initial mistake of the grant being 
made to the township and not to the State. 

The two elements of progress that seem to have come out of the 
situation are the evident effort of the State to make an equitable 
distribution of the fund according to needs rather than the strict 
letter of ownership and, through the necessity of raising the income 
of the sixteenth section fund by taxation, a famiharization of the 
people with this method of securing all school funds. 

The sole capital then with which the State began its pubhc-school 
system was a stock of knowledge gained through a generation of 
hard knocks in the school of experience, something less than a million 
acres of land of problematical value, and a paper fund amounting 
to more than $1,000,000. 

From the first formal organization of the system (1854) all of the 
pubhc-school funds were raised by taxation, but, coming indirectly 
and partly as a gift from the State, the people were slow to grasp the 
idea that they were themselves the ultimate source of this income. 

After the school system was finally estabhshed in 1854, and its 
sources of income fixed by law, the question of administration reverted 
to the older idea of schools without supervision. The people seemed 
wilhng enough to spend for schools whatever money was available, 
but they were not often wilhng that any of this should be spent 
either for State or county supervision. The idea seems to have been 
that the public-school system when once organized was amply able 
to execute itself. This indicates clearly that the people had not yet 
been liberated from the memory of earher days when public funds 
were merely supplementary to private funds and when the schools 
were essentially private institutions, with some additional income 
derived from pubhc endowment or its equivalent. The situation 
was now exactly reversed. The schools were essentially public; 
they were supported in the main by public funds, which were, how- 
ever, for many years increased in amount by fees for tuition and inci- 
dentals, and from various other sources. These additional sums 
in the earher days were sometimes as much as one-half of the whole, 
and even in recent years have not been inconsiderable, yet the time 
has never been, since 1854, when there was the shghtest inclination 
on the part of the State to loosen its hold on the schools or to return 
to the system of the forties. Supervision won its battle before the 
Civil War, and since has grown steadily in importance and influence. 


During the seven years between 1854 and 1861 the schools were 
steadily developing and gaining a hold on the people. They were 
becoming better understood, their resources were increasing some- 
what, and they were widening the scope of their activities. There 
can be no doubt that during these years the system took a lasting 
hold on the affections of the people of the State. This is indicated 
by the tenacity with which it held its own dmring the war and the 
period immediately following. It is clear that had there been no 
reconstruction, the schools would have continued developing along 
the original lines. Their field would have been soon broadened and 
extended so as to include the negro, and with the recuperation that 
would have followed with years of peace they would have soon recov- 
ered the ground lost during the time of war and outdistanced the best 
days of the ante bellum period. 

But this was not to be. Reconstruction added to the burdens of 
the white population and worked a hardship upon the negroes, 
because it carried in its train the hostility of the whites among 
whom they lived and who were at heart their friends. It meant 
that the energy which for the next years would have been spent 
in developing the schools and in building up again the waste places 
of the State must now be spent in wresting the scepter of govern- 
ment from the hands of the negro and his political allies. In this 
life and death struggle all else was forgotten. Without autonomy, 
education was dead. No wonder there was little progress in those eight 
wretched years. The real wonder is that, when this proud people 
had again come into their own politically, they so easily and quickly 
forgot the evils that had been grafted on their system of public schools 
during the reconstruction period, and after revising and revivifying 
the new system retained all the good which it had evolved. It seems 
literally true that the public-school system of Alabama, organized in 
ante bellum days, conducted during the period of actual hostilities, and 
maintained so far as available funds would permit through the next 
three years, gained nothing by its reorganization in 1868. It was not 
placed in the hands of the men who were best fitted to administer it, 
either by previous experience, ability, or character. It was too often 
the prey of the ignorant and the spoilsmen. The nadir of misfortune 
was reached in 1873, when the schools were practically closed because 
extravagance, carelessness, and ignorance had already piled upon 
them a load which the}^ could no longer bear. The tide now turned ; 
and out of the slough of despond, under the leadership of a brave, 
broad-minded man, a new organization was to rise, an organization 
for which, whether good or bad, Alabamians alone are responsible 
and through which they are still seeking to solve the great question 
of universal education. 


After the adoption of the constitution of 1875, and the reorganiza- 
tion of schools which followed it, the permanent existence of the 
public-school system as one of the regular activities of government 
was assured. This constitution provided that $100,000 a year be 
devoted to the schools; what came to them beyond this sum depended 
on the general prosperity of the State and the will of the assembly. 
It is possible that the idea in mind of the constitution makers was 
that the system contained too many elements of usefuhiess to be 
left to the mere will of the assembly. For this reason it was given 
a formal lease of life by the organic law, with enough income to 
assure its continuance. Beyond this, expansion could come only as 
the system appeared to the people to be making good. In truth it 
must be said that almost another generation passed before it really 
began to make good. 

There were many reasons for this comparative failure — the presence 
of a different race and a certain amount of inequahty in the distribution 
of funds was one cause; indifference, ignorance, lack of funds, short 
terms, poor teachers, and poor results were other causes ; nor is it worth 
while to veil the fact that the administration of the department was a 
matter of politics. Most of the early superintendents were made the 
party nominee for religious, economic, or social reasons, or as a matter 
of political expediency. Sometimes there was in the superintendent 
little of the spirit or enthusiasm of the real teacher or educational 
missionary who was willing to go into the corners of the State in sea- 
son or out of season and preach the doctrine of educational salvation. 
Then, too, with a single exception, during the last 40 years the super- 
intendent has been changed every four years or oftener. Since the 
adoption of the constitution of 1875 there have been in all 11 indi- 
viduals who have filled or finished 12 terms of office and this rotation 
in ofiice is now fixed by the constitution itself. The result is that 
there can not be the highest degree of continuity in development, for 
as soon as a superintendent begins to learn the details of his ofiice 
and so to become master of the situation he must give place to 
another. He can have no assurance that his plans will be carried 
out by his successor, and knowing that no amount of success will 
help him succeed himself, he is under constant temptation to accept 
other positions before his term of service is over. This has already 
twice been the case since 1901, when this new constitutional provi- 
sion went into force. 

In earlier days the interests of the schools were not always^the main 
consideration when party nominations were made; partisan politics 
rather than education sometimes dictated, and it has been by a long 
and laborious mental process that the people have come to a realiza- 
tion that their educational system is something more than a mere 


department of government charged with duties that concern the 
present. The administration of Maj. Pahner helped to this real- 
ization. His success was in part because he had a longer term in 
which to carry out his plans; he had more funds than his predeces- 
sors; he also assisted the cities to realize their needs and urged them 
along Hnes of self-help. They were beginning to feel the imperative 
necessity for more funds; they now began seeking for the means of 
supplying the need. Unincorporated commun^ies were shut out by 
the Culhnan case — Schultes v. Eberly. The Birmingham decision in 
1895 cut off income from another class of taxes, but this process of 
exclusion revealed to them that these funds might be raised on a 
general city levy and then appropriated in accord with specific enact- 
ment to the use of schools. About 1895 the same thing was tried 
with the counties. They were careful to keep within the constitu- 
tional limit of 75 cents on the $100, but found it possible, through 
special legislative enactment, to appropriate a part of the funds 
raised under a general levy to school purposes. Through the devel- 
opment of this idea in the counties it was possible to secure the State- 
wide act of 1899, which required the counties to make a straight levy 
of 10 cents per hundred for schools. This levy kept within the total 
tax limit, but it is not at all certain that it would have passed the 
test of the courts. The friends of the measure were reheved from 
anxiety, however, by the constitution of 1901, which adopted the 
idea, extended it from 10 cents to 30 cents, and made it a part of 
the organic law. The author of the act of 1899 was John W. Aber- 
crombie, then superintendent. It was through his efforts that it 
passed the assembly. The Hght was breaking. The men in charge 
of the educational department were now practical educators, and 
while the new constitution did not reflect their full hopes and wishes, 
it did show the presence of their influence. It was in reahty a com- 
promise between the progressive pro educational interests which 
demanded the fuUest rights of local and State taxation and the old 
conservative and vested interests which wanted httle taxation or 
none at all. The new 30-cent tax for education was levied by the 
State, collected by the counties, paid to the State, and by it again 
distributed to the counties. The constitution also made possible an 
optional county tax of 10 cents on the $100, but the right of local 
taxation was still denied to both cities and local school districts, and 
since then these have become the centers around which the struggle 
for further progress has been carried on. 

The hmited success attained through the constitution of 1901 was 
by no means accidental or exotic. On the other hand, it had its 
root deep in the soil of other years and is a product of the faithful 
work of a few men and women in various walks of life — teachers, 

75075°— 15 13 


school officers, superintendents, and others. Through their efforts 
such development came as was possible with the limited funds avail- 
able. Their efforts, their words and actions, made possible the 
development of that day and paved the way for the constitutional 
amendment of 1901. 

With the new sources of income now at command, the schools began 
to make a great leap forward, especially in the length of term, in the 
funds available per child of school age, and in school equipment. 
With the increase of funds has come also a widening of school activi- 
ties. This includes the reorganization of the special school district 
system and its extension to the whole State; the reorganizal ion of 
the district agricultural schools; the organization of high schools; 
the increased efficiency of the normal schools; the evolution of the 
Montevallo Girls' Industrial School into a high-grade technical insti- 
tute for women; the extension of the work of the university and of 
the Alabama Polytechnic Institute. All along the line has educa- 
tional endeavor been awakened and reinforced and reinvigorated. 
There is now almost everywhere a better and closer supervision, a 
keener and more general interest in the educational progress of aU 
classes of the population. All phases of educational work, from the 
primary grades to the university, have been encouraged, inspired, 
and strengthened. 

In no way can this general progress be illustrated better than by 
comparing the statistics of illiteracy in Alabama in 1880 with those 
in 1910, as follows: 

Total number of illiterates 10 years of age and over. 

1880 433,447, or 50.9 per cent. 

1890 438,535, or 41.0 per cent. 

1900 443,590, or 34.0 per cent. 

1910 352,710, or 22.9 per cent. 

Native white illiterates 10 years of age and over. 

1880 111,040, or 25.0 per cent. 

1890 - 106,235, or 18.4 per cent. 

1900 103,570, or 14.8 per cent. 

1910 84,768, or 9.9 per cent. 

Foreign white illiterates 10 years of age and over. 

1880 727, or 7.7 per cent. 

1890 1,100, or 7.9 per cent. 

1900 1,313, or 9.3 per cent. 

1910 2,063, or 11.3 per cent. 

Negro illiterates 10 years of age and over. 

1880 321,680, or 80.6 per cent. 

1890 330,700, or 69.1 per cent. 

1900 ■ '. : 338,707, or 57.4 per cent. 

1910 265, 628, or 40.1 per cent. 


Illiterates 10 to 20 years of age, inclusive. 

1880 - 166,395, or 53.5 per cent. 

1890 ^ 144,665, or 34.8 per cent. 

1900 133,584, or 28.0 per cent. 

1910 86,437, or 16.4 per cent. 

A study of these census figures will show that while there was a 
decrease, as measured by per cent of illiteracy in the 20 years between 
1880 and 1900, in reahty (1) the total number of illiterates increased 
by 10,000; (2) foreign illiterates increased by nearly 600; (3) negro 
illiterates increased by 17,000; (4) white native illiterates decreased 
by less than 8,000. This meant that while the relative amount of 
illiteracy was less in 1900 than in 1880, the possibihty of its final 
eradication seemed at that time to be almost indefinitely post- 
poned. The pubhcation of these statistics no doubt had its influ- 
ence in awakening the people of the State. They saw that their 
pubhc-school system, although nearly haK a century old, was not 
holding its own in the face of growing ignorance. They diagnosed 
the reason, and they had force of character to apply the proper 
remedy which, in the case of Alabama, meant mainly more money 
and equipment. The increase in the school funds shows clearly in 
the census returns of 1910 : The total number of illiterates was reduced 
between 1900 and 1910 by 91,000; the native whites by 19,000; and 
negro ilhterates by 73,000; and the per cent of illiterates between 
10 and 20 years of age, as compared with 1890, was more than cut 
in hah. But according to the State school census of 1914 the figures 
of to-day are not so satisfactory and give Uttle comfort to those in 
authority. In discussing illiteracy and the school census of 1914, 
Supt. Feagin says, in his report for 1913-14: 

In the aggregate there are 306,857 white children in Alabama between the ages of 
10 and 20, inclusive. Of this number, 280,598 are literate and 26,259 are illiterate. 
This means that 1 out of every 12, although he has had the opportunity of public 
education for three years or even more, is still unable to read and write. There are 
240,814 colored children in the State between the ages of 10 and 20, inclusive, of 
whom 170,567 are literate and 70,247 are illiterate. This means that 1 negro in 4, 
betvreen the aforesaid ages, can not read and write. For our combined population 
there are 547,671 children between the ages of 10 and 20, inclusive, and of this num- 
ber 451,165 are literate and 96,506 are illiterate. * * * That conditions are grad- 
ually improving no one can deny, but if our number of illiterates decreases in future 
census decades by the number that it decreased in the last census decade it will 
require just 65 years to place Alabama and the people of Alabama where they ought 
to be when educational opportunity is equalized and utilized. 

If, however, comparison is made between the situation in 1900- 
1901 and in 1913-14, it v/ill be evident that substantial progress is 
being made: 

The total number of teachers increased from 6,302 to 9,727. 

School property from 1934,065 to $8,417,291. 

Special tax of- 30 cents per hundred from $245,246 to $1,734,302. 

City and county appropriations from $663,754 (in 1907-8) to $3,363,859. 

1 Estimated. 


The total available funds from $1,180,283 to $4,446,076. 

Total available funds per capita of school population from $1.67 to $5.74. 

Total expenditures from $1,119,397 to $4,274,458. 

Length of school term for whites from 97 to 135 days; for negroes from 82.7 to 104 days. 

Per cent of school population enrolled in 1900-1901 was 54.3; in 1913-14 it was 60.5. 

The per cent of enrollment in average attendance was 46.9 in 1900-1901, and 61.6 in 

The per cent of school population in average attendance was 25.4 and 37.2, respec- 

It does not seem that these phases of the school system, enrollment 
and attendance, are making progress equal to others. They repre- 
sent one of the phases of the subject which is crying loudly for an 
improvement superinduced b}^ law. It is safe to believe also that 
no such extensile gains are likely to be shown by the census of 
1920 as are shown in 1910, for the reason that with the funds now 
available the public schools have about reached their zenith. Under 
most lavorable conditions, with a given amount of money from 
year to year, only results of a corresponding grade can be expected. 
The results of the increased funds available under the constitution 
of 1901 are now reaching their flood tide; without more funds for 
expansion they will remain stationary for a time, and then will 
come necessarily a reaction and the beginning of the ebb. Educa- 
tional leaders in the State have long grasped the situation and 
are now bending their energies toward securing legislative sanction 
for a constitutional amendment permitting local taxation. Such 
a provision was defeated by a small margin only in the legislature 
of 1911; no matter of more importance will come before the session 
of 1915. Defeat is unthinkable, for the people of Alabama arc 
aroused; they are patriotic and it would mean a shock to educational 
development, an encouragement to illiteracy, a check on progress in 
general, a moving backward of the shadow on the dial of Ahaz. 

With an increase of funds must go also other elements of progress 
to insure the best results. The most important of these is that of 
compulsory school attendance. Local taxation and compulsory 
attendance will doubtless open to the State a new era of educational 
prosperity. They are to-day vital necessities, and this study can 
perhaps be ended in no better way than by quoting the words of 
one of Alabama's educational leaders, who having served as State 
superintendent has now become president of the State Normal 
School at Florence. Mr. Henry J. Willingham says in the Educa- 
tional Exchange for February, 1914: 

School attendance is required throughout the civilized world to-day, except in 
Russia, Spain, and Turkey, and six of the Southern States.^ How much longer shall 
we * * * in Alabama be willing to say "Here we rest"? It is gratifying to 
observe that public sentiment seems to be crystallizing in the demand for a law 
upon our statute books on the subject of compulsory attendance. God speed the 
day when it may come. 

This only is educational salvation. 

1 Reduced to four in April, 1915. 


Table 1. — School population, teachers, property, and school year. 

Totals, white and negro. 

White only. 

Value all 







ly sal- 

Days in 



ly sal- 

Days in 


1 145,518 
178, 095 









2 2,038 




357, isi 

387, 057 
399, 153 
403, 735 
404, 739 
405, 839 
406, 270 


'"3," 476' 


1869-70 3 

4 42. 60 
4 38.00 






1871 5 ^ 


64 3 

1871-72 6 . 







4 27.20 
'"22.' 56' 

Vis.' 76' 


4 23. 06 

4 21.70 

4 22. 40 




4 21.87 

4 22. 31 

4 21.14 












8 87.2 









369, 447 
370, 245 
376, 649 
401, 002 
419, 764 
420, 413 
450, 968 
452, 937 
522, 691 
590, 757 
590, 757 
590, 757 
6.59, 795 
679, 051 
688, 634 
687, 274 
712, 769 
727, 297 
727, 297 














$130, 067 
285, 976 
264, 457 


1883-84 ' 



83 1 





18S7-88 . . 



69 2 













67 4 




8, 273 





72. 8 

65 3 


63 8 

1896-97... . 






1899-1900 10 


1901-2.... . 



105. 8 

934, 065 
2, 780, 022 
10 1,957,702 
5, 175, 247 
6, 416, 420 












1906-7. . 












1 School age in 1855, 5-18; in 1856 and 1857,6-21; in 1868-69 to 1874-75 it was 5-21 ; beginning with 1875-76 
it has since been 7-21. 

2 Census of 1860. 

3 For year Oct. 1, 1869, to Jan. 1, 1871. 

4 Pay of all teachers, white and black. 

5 For year Jan. 1 to Oct. 1, 1871. 

« For year Oct. 1, 1871, to Sept. 30, 1872; 22 counties not reporting, 

7 51 counties only reporting. 

8 Includes all schools, rural and special district. 

9 Includes country districts only. 
10 Reports incomplete. 




Table 2. — Enrollment and attendance. 


cent of 



school attendance. 




cent of 
in aver- 
age at- 

cent of 

in aver- 
age at- 



cent of 



cent of 
in aver- 
age at- 

cent of 
in aver- 
age at- 



89, 160 














2 160,000 





'169 ,'139 





















69, 479 
104, 150 





















175, 168 



155, 168 


41, 659 
50, 184 
47, 146 
53, 143 
62, 673 
66, 888 













348, 899 
3 215,693 
422, 795 
468, 154 



268, 113 

124, 618 
132, 413 
3 69,763 
127, 480 






277, 659 
302, 115 
302, 115 
307, 664 
322, 707 
322, 707 


1899-1900. .. 














65, 055 
3 75,297 




















1 Census of 1860. 

2 Estimated. 

3 Reports incomplete. 

Table 3. — School revenues. 



and sur- 
plus rev- 

ing bal- 

State ap- 
and gen- 

Poll tax. 

tional one- 
fifth mill 

City and 






1 $103,640 
} 139,841 

} 237,515 

268, 731 
5 524,622 
500, 409 
9 506, 499 
9 511,540 
10 566,460 
713, 198 












SI, 534 




1 58 



i860 . . 






1865 2 

1865-66 3 



1868-69 < 

200, 123 
137, 578 
138, 584 
145, 110 
11 150, 754 




1869-70 6 


1 29 


120, 125 
135, 784 
9 136,896 
135, 127 
143, 751 










1 19 
















9 2,490 













168, 794 







8 60,145 
8 76,412 
8 66,990 









8 23,186 

1 21 








8 174, 183 
8 184,359 
8 200,000 


1888-89 . . . 

1 47 










1 40 









1898-99 . 





12 245,246 
12 257, 129 




1 Estimated. 

2 Income 1860-1865 from auditor's reports. 

3 Income 1865-1868 from superintendent's reports. 

< Income 1868-69 to 1877-78 from superintendent's report for 1877-78, p. xxxviii. 

5 Auditor's figures begin. 

6 For 15 months, Oct. 1, 1869, to Jan. 1, 1871. 

7 For 9 months, Jan. 1 to Oct. 1, 1871. Since that date the fiscal year has run Oct. 1 to Sept. 30. 

8 Figures in this column, 1879-80 to and including 1889-90, are private contributions and not counted 
in auditor's report. 

9 Figures oi superintendent; poll tax then a local matter and not reported to auditor. 

10 Income 1887-88 to date from auditor's reports. Prior to 1887-88 totals exceed auditor's by amount 
of poll tax. Prior to 1883 auditor gives only receipts of sixteenth section fimds. 

11 The law of Feb. 23, 1899, and subsequent laws provided $165,000 to cover the total interest carried by 
these funds. 

12 From 1900-1901 the figures in this column are the special State tax of 10 cents on the hundred levied 
by the legislature of 1899 and the 30-cent tax provided by the constitution of 1901. 


Table 3. — School revenues — Continued. 


and sur- 
plus rev- 

ing bal- 

State ap- 
and gen- 

Poll tax. 

tional one- 
fifth mm 

City and 






I $154, 406 



6 59,430 
6 60,771 
6 57,235 
6 73,929 







245, 112 

2 $273, 437 
2 281,211 
2 880,545 
2 927,423 
2 982,334 

2 1,070,006 
2 1,282,818 
2 1,358,082 
2 1,399,371 
2 1,482,594 
2 1,565,472 
2 1,734,302 

3 $1,167,887 





f 5 2,367,662 

\ 1,703,908 

/ 2,562,642 

1 1,954,399 

/ 2,894,836 

\ 2,164,646 

/ 3,719,313 

\ 2,114,362 

f 3,703,711 

\ 2,229,979 

/ 8 4,304,571 

\ 2,288,262 

/ 10 4,446,076 

\ 2,434,662 

$1 78 




1 78 


1 90 





< $663, 754 


7 1,002,011 

9 531,937 

1 3.44 
1 3.73 



1 4.06 

1910-11 .. 

\ 5.22 
1 5 09 



\ 5.92 


} 5.74 

1 The law of Feb. 23, 1899, and subsequent laws provided $165,000 to cover the total interest earned by 
these funds. 

2 From 1900-1901 the figures in this column are the special State tax of 10 cents on the hundred levied 
by the legislature of 1899 and the 30-cent tax provided by the constitution of 1901. 

3 These are the auditor's figures, which represent the sums passing through the State treasury. The 
superintendent reports for this year $1,289,399, which is equal to the sums reported by the auditor increased 
by local, city, and county funds which do not pass through the State treasury. 

4 This column stands for local funds contributed by cities and county funds raised by the special 10- 
■cent county school tax. 

5 Top row gives superintendent's figures, found by adding to the auditor's total (bottom row), the 
local, county, and city contributions given in column 6. There are also included in the superintendent's 
total various miscellaneous sums like fees, supplements by patrons, etc. 

6 Not found in the auditor's report but made up by subtracting from his total the total of columns 1, 
3, 4, 5. In 1913-14 the amount apportioned was less than the total of these columns. 

7 Superintendent's report, 1912-13, p. 147. 

8 Ibid., p. 144. 

9 City appropriations only. 

^0 Superintendent's report, 1913-14, p. 119. 

Table 4. — School expenditures. 


Total for 


neous, in- 
sion and 


Total for 


Total ex- 
all purposes. 

on hand. 


1 $146,825 
2 490,278 
2 552,984 





1859 . . . 


2 489, 274 

4 283,870 
112, 783 

5 413,849 
5 290,250 




1864. . . 




1 From treasury for all purposes. 

2 Includes local fimds, not reported to auditor. 

3 This item is substantially like those for 1856 and 1857. 
for teaching. 

4 This was the amount reported to auditor. 

^ Amount apportioned, but not all was used for schools. 

Practically all expenditures of those days were 

Table 4. — School expenditures — Continued. 



Total for 


neous, in- 
sion and 


Total for 


Total ex- 
all purposes. 

on hand. 


1 $44, 773 

502, 156 

1 491, 193 

1 538, 523 
605, 420 
530, 079 
396, 266 
388, 141 

2 410,620 
2 403,602 
2 448,498 
2 522, 727 
2 538, 950 
2 543,044 

2 527,320 

3 385, 159 
659, 803 
648, 135 
644, 656 
647, 400 
625, 715 
658, 539 








/ 7 2, 195, 335 

\ 1,652,916 

/ 2,431,708 

\ 1,905,993 

/ 2,746,473 

\ 2,105,173 

/ 3,719,313 

\ 2,079,004 

/ 3,547,355 

\ 2,031,039 

/ 3,888,593 

1 2,126,379 

/ 7 4, 274, 458 

\ 2,273,436 


40, 550 
6, 150 
14, 691 
16, 129 



1 $269, 569 
204, 791 
195, 8eo 
204, 581 
208. 569 
203, 881 
225, 868 
294, 181 
323, 737 

1 $194, 927 
202, 812 
207, 102 
155, 850 
158, 902 
152, 890 
202, 131 
198, 221 
208, 180 

$9, 216 




10, 750 
13, 500 
13, 500 
15, 500 
15, 500 
21 ; 500 
21, 500 
25, 500 
25, 500 
36, 500 
30, 500 
30, 000 
30, 000 
44, 500 
14, 500 
44, 500 
54, 500 
54, 500 





118, 500 

114, 500 















9, 325 





2 11, 500 


2 690 


2 1, 180 



3 3,421 


2 585 


181 301 


53, 395 


* 50, 563 


i 55, 109 




5 555,360 


163, 595 


97, 264 

1894-95 . . . 

167, 193 



167, 514 
157, 123 



1899-1900 ... 

75, 116 


95, 952 




6 904, 190 
6 902,510 

69 773 


78, 018 

1904-5 ... . . . 

82. 175 


58, 190 


48, 638 


8 2,507,669 
8 2,553,364 
8 2, 704, 565 
8 2,962,168 

357, 585 
375, 192 

7 172,327 


50, 992 
130, 933 


48, 405 


708, 185 
678, 196 

59, 473 
106, 225 


35, 358 
155, 756 


54, 336 




1 Amount apportioned, but not all was used for schools. 

2 Superintendent's figures. 

3 Auditor's figui-es begin. 

4 Includes local funds, not reported to auditor. 

5 Includes white and black. 

6 Includes supervision; white and black. 

7 Top row gives superintendent's figures and includes local county and city funds, of column 8, table 3; 
lower row gives auditor's figures, who excludes all funds that do not pass through State treasury. 

8 Presumably includes greater part of sums paid for supervision. 


Table 5. — Assessed valuation of property. 

1848 1 $191,761,000 

1849 262,536,000 

1850 266,381,000 

1851 266,353,000 

1852 279,233,000 

1853 289,289,000 

1854 292,021,000 


1856 2110,992,000 

1857 2122,295,000 

1858 2 126,949,000 


1876 135,535,000 

1877 130,799,000 

1878 126,773,000 

1879 123,757,000 

1880 139,077,000 

1881 $152,920,000 





1891 275,316,000 



1898 $260,201,000 

1899 262,144,000 

1900 270,408,000 

1901 288,657,000 

1902 298,440,000 

1903 311,100,000 

1904 326,173,000 

1905 347,228,000 

1900 374,850,000 

1907 450,288,000 

1908 467,784,000 

1909 484,350,000 

1910 508,568,000 

1911 541,764,000 

1912 566,807,000 

1913 580,588,000 

1914 615,380,000 

Includes slaves. 

2 Slaves not included. 


After the above story of public school education was put into type 
the State legislature met in its regular quadrennial session early in 
January, 1915, and after remaining in session for 20 legislative days 
adjourned on February 19 to reassemble on July 13, 1915. 

The principal educational work accomplished includes an act 
providing for a literacy commission, and an act authorizing the 
State board of examiners to grant teacher certificates to graduates 
of certain institutions of higher learning who have had an amount of 
professional training approved by said board of examiners, and to 
those who hold unexpired certificates in other States for a time not 
to exceed that of the unexpired certificate. 

By a two-thirds vote the legislature submitted to the people for 
popular ratification a proposed amendment to the State constitution, 
providing that the counties be given power to levy a special tax 
not exceeding 50 cents on $100 and that the school districts, includ- 
ing incorporated cities or towns, be also given power to levy a 
special tax of not over 50 cents on $100, provided ^'that no district 
tax shall be voted or collected except in such counties as are 
levying and collecting not less than a 3-mill special county tax." 
No tax may be levied except by consent of the majority of the voters, 
who may also fix the rate and the time the tax is to continue. 

This tax proposition will be passed on by the electors at the regular 
election to be held in November, 1916. In a final word of exhortation 
Supt. Feagin says in his last report: 

The several lines of improvement suggested in this report, including better teachers, 
longer terms, better attendance, better buildings, better equipment, better organi- 
zation, better administration, better supervision, all depend upon the willingness 
and authority of the taxpayers to finance the same. * * * In a word, if Ala- 
bama's educational needs were to be resolved into one supreme requirement and that 
requirement were translated into law, it should be written large: Local taxation, 
first by counties, and then by districts. 




Official Letter Boohs {MS.). 

W. F. Perry, April 9, 1857, to March 8, 1858. 

Deals with sixteenth section lands, notes,[payments, and interest; with trustees of townships, their 
appointments, qualifications, and duties, and with the troubles of teachers. Local and detailed, 
little of State or general significance. 

G. B. Duval, September 20, 1858, to May 5, 1860. 

Deals with deaf and dumb institutions, sixteenth sections, moneys, notes, interest, etc. — the 
details of the system, little on the principles. 

Duval, Allen, and Taylor, June 1, 1860, to April 29, 1865. 

Of considerable value; contains practically all that we have of the war period. 

Dr. N. B. Cloud, June 26 to August 14, 1869. 

Only a few letters copied and these of slight value. 

J. H. Speed, January 6 to October 1, 1873. 

Occupied mainly in telling why there could be no schools opened that year. 

Associations, Official Reports, Educational Journals, etc. 

Alabama educational association. Proceedings, 1856, 1857, 1858, 1859, 1883 (MS.) 

Alabama educational journal. Vol. 1, January-December, 1857. Folio, edited by 

W. F. Perry. Vol. 2, October, 1858-September, 1859. Octavo, edited by 

Noah K. Davis. 
Alabama historical society, transactions, vols. 1-4, 1897-98, 1898-99, 1899-1903. 
These volumes contain many contributions of value in a study of education. 

Alabama journal of education, Montgomery, April, 1871 (May, 1871, vol. 1, no. 2, is 
first one actually seen)-June, 1871. 

Alabama progress, Montgomery, March 18, 1882-August 25, 1883. 

Alabama State teachers' association (colored). Proceedings, 1889, 1896. 

Alabama teachers' journal, Huntsville, July (December, 1885, vol. 1, no. 6, is the 
earliest number seen)-September, 1889 (vol. 4, no. 12). 

City school reports, since 1886-87. ISo earlier years seen. Birmingham, Montgom- 
ery, and other towns. 

Constitutions, Federal and State, ed. by Francis Newton Thorpe. 

Department of Education. Reports of the State superintendent, 1856 to date, so far 
as published except 1865. 

. Bulletin No. 43. — An educational survey of three counties in Alabama. 

Montgomery, 1914. 

Educational exchange, Birmingham-Montgomery-Birmingham, April, 1889 (vol. 1, no. 
1) to date. 
No volumes 5 and 6 apparently. 

Educator, Huntsville, vol. 16, no. 11, is for December, 1913. 

A monthly educational and industrial journal edited in the interests of the negroes. 

Laws. Session laws, codes, or revisals. 

From the earliest times to date. 



Mobile.- — The board of school conmiissioners and the public school system of the 
city and county of Mobile. 1869. 
Not seen. 

Porter, B. F. Argument in support of a bill introduced by him into the House of 
Representatives "for the preservation of the sixteenth section grants, and to 
establish permanently, in the State of Alabama, a common school fund so as to 
fully secure the intellectual improvement and moral welfare of the youth of the 
State." n. p. [1847^8.] 
Copy in the Curry Collection. 

Public documents to date. Including auditors' reports, treasurer's reports, governor's 
messages. Senate and House journals, and accompanying papers, etc. 

Report from the Committee on education on the subject of public schools. Mont- 
gomery, 1852. 14 p. 8°. 

Signed Charles P. Robinson, ch. House com. on ed. , with proposed bill (which failed to become law). 

Report of the House committee on education, A. B. Meek, chairman. Protests of 
members of the Senate and of the House against the bill enacted into law. 
In House and Senate journals, 1853-54. 
Also printed as separates in Curry Collection, Montgomery, 1854. 15+11 p. 8°. 

Report of the Judiciary committee to whom was referred the "Resolution of inquiry" 
into alleged "Illegal use, or unlawful application of the public money, or any 
part of the school fund for Mobile county, or other public fund." Montgomery, 
School laws, 1854 to date, all special editions. 

Southern educationar journal and family magazine. Ed. by F. H. Brooks, Mobile, 
Bureau of education has vol. 1, nos. 4-6, January-March, 1844. No others seen. 
Said by Owen to be the first educational journal published in the State. 

Southern teacher. Ed. by W. S. Barton, Montgomery, 1859-61, bimonthly and 
monthly. Vol. 1, July 1859 to July 1860. Vol. 2, August 1860 to April 1861. 

The November number, 1860, is vol. 2, no. 4; April 1861 is vol. 2, no. 9. No other copies seen. These 
are the property of the Alabama State department of archives and history. 

Speed, Joseph H. Address delivered before the Board of education, November 23, 

1872. Montgomery, 1872. 11 p. 8°. 
State board of education. Journals, 1868-74. 
Acts passed by State board of education, 1868-74. 

Supreme court reports. Vols. 34, 44, 82, 83, 115, 140, 165, 180. 
United States Census reports, 1840-1910. 
United States Statutes at large. 

Many laws in the earlier volumes deal with Alabama. 


Baldwin, Joseph G. The flush times of Alabama and Mississippi. New York, 1853. 
Blandin, il/rs. Isabella M. E. History of higher education of women in the South 
prior to 1860. Washington, 1909. 

Gives extended accounts of schools in Alabama. 

Brewer, Willis. Alabama: her history, resources, war record and public men, 

1540-1872. Montgomery, 1872. 
Clark, Willis G. History of education in Alabama, 1702-1889. Washington, 1889. 

Covers the whole field of education. 
— , The progress of education. In Memorial Record of Alabama, I. pp. 154-216. 

Madison, Wis., 1893. 


DuBose, John W. The life and times of William Lowndes Yancey. Birmingham, 

DuBose, Joel C. School history of Alabama. Richmond, Ya. [cl908.] 
Fleming, Walter L. Civil war and reconstruction in Alabama. New York, 1905. 
Based on sources; generally fair and accurate; but frankly pro-Southern. 

Garrett, William. Reminiscences of public men in Alabama for thirty years. At- 
lanta, 1872. 
Mainly biographical. 

Hamilton, Peter J. Colonial Mobile. Boston, 1897. Second edition in 1910. 
See especially the second edition, passim. 

Mobile of the Five Flags. Mobile, 1913. 

Hodgson, Joseph. The cradle of the Confederacy. Mobile, 1876. 

Owen, Thomas M. Bibliography of Alabama. Washington, Amer. historical asso- 
ciation, 1898. 

An exceedingly valuable classification and review of the materials relating to the history of the 

Alabama Library List. Montgomery, 1912. 

An annotated list of books suitable for rural schools, other elementary and grammar schools, high 
schools, and small public libraries. 

Second edition. Montgomery, 1913. 

Forms State Department of Education Bulletin, No. 39. 

Perry, W^illiam F. The genesis of public education in Alabama. In Alabama his- 
torical society. Transactions, II, 1897-1898. p. 14-27. 

Pickett, Albert James. History of Alabama and incidentally of Georgia and Missis- 
sippi. Annals of Alabama, 1819-1900, by Thomas M. Owen. Birmingham, 1900. 

P^ynolds, Bernard. Sketches of Mobile from 1814 to the present time. Mobile, 1868. 


Abercrombie, J. W., and public schools of Ala- 
bama, 135; and secondary education, 184-185; rec- 
ommendations for public schools, 138-139. 

Academies, See Private schools. 

Academy, near Statesville, Autauga County, 20. 

Administration of schools^ 50; imification, 149. 

Agricidtural education, discussion, 51-52. 

Agricultural experiment stations, establishment, 

Agricultural schools, district, organization and his- 
tory, 136-137, 178-180. 

A.gricmtural Society, Greensborough, property, 19. 

Alabama, evolution of, 7-15. 

Alabama, Territory of, districts, 11-13; established 
by Congress_, 8. ' 

Alabama, University of, and secondary education, 
184-185; begins summer school, 144. 

Alabama Deaf and Dumb Asylum, work, 182. 

Alabama Educational Association, advocates local 
taxation, 121; organization, 76. 

Alabama Educational Journal, founded, 76. 

Alabama Female Institute takes over property of 
Tuscaloosa Female Acad.emy, 20. 

Alabama Girls^ Technical Institute, work, 182-183. 

Alabama Institute of Literature and Industry, es- 
tablishment, 20. 

Alabama Journal of Education, merged into the 
'^ Advance," 160. 

Alabama Medical University, authorized to confer 
degree, 21. 

Alabama Polytechnic Institute, summer school for 
farmers, 144. 

Alabama Progress, establishment, 125, 125^ 160. 

Alabama School for Deaf and Blind, work, 184. 

Alabama Teachers' Journal, founded, 126. 

Alabama (white) Boys' Industrial School, work, 

American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Mis- 
sions, industrial schools established, 23-24. 

American settlements, Tombigbee River, 11. 

Appropriations, 121, 134. 

Appropriations and. expenditures, 104. 

Armstrong, H. C, and public schools in Alabama, 

Athens Female Academy, establishment, 18. 

Athens Male Academy, teachers and students 
exempted from military service, 19. 

Attendance, school, discussion, 196; statistics, 198. 

Baker, N. R., and rural school supervision, 174. 
Baldwin County, fvmd for schools, 24. 
Bank of Alabama, and school funds, 27-30. 
Barton Academy, used for public school, 44. 
Begimiing of a new era (1898-1914), 135-140. 
Bibb, Governor, and education, 17. 
Bibliography, 203-205. 
BUoxi, settlement la 1699, 7. 
Birmingham, public schools. See City schools. 
Blind, education, 184. 
Blountville Academy, fimds, 24. 
Board of education. State. See State Board of Edu- 
Books for teachers, recommended, 67. 
Box, L. F., and public education, 118-119. 

Centenary Institute of the Alabama Conference of 

the Methodist Episcopal Church, authorized to 

confer degrees, 21. 
Central Masonic Institute. See Masonic University. 
Certificates, teachers, legislation regarding, 149-150. 
Chapman, Reuben, message regarding common 

schools and agricultural education, 51-52. 
Chickasaw Indians, schools, 23-24, 
Chisholm, M. A., service as State superintendent of 

schools, 84. 
Choctaw Indians, schools, 24. 

City schools, organization and development, 162- 

Civil War, education during, 78-83; private schools 
prior to, 16-25. 

Claiborne Academy, purchase of site, 18. 

Clark, T. H., on the boat as an emblem of progress, 

Clark, W. G., study of school systems, 45-46. 

Claxton, P. P., letter of transmittal, 5. 

Clayton Male and Female Academy, establishment, 
21; exempted from taxation, 25. 

Cloud, N. B., and public schools of Alabama, 89-90; 
on pay of public school teachers, 94; on recon- 
struction in the public schools, 84. 

Codification of school laws, 131. 

Colleges and universities, 20-22^ 144, 184-185. 

Collier, H. ^V., message regardmg common schools, 

Commissioner of Education. See United States 
Commissioner of Education. 

Compulsory education, advocated, 149, 

Concord Academy, income, 18. 

Congressional district agricultural schools, law gov- 
erning them amended, 136-137. 

Constitution of 1875, educational provisions, 114- 

Constitution of 1901, educational provisions, 140-142. 

Coosawda Academy, property, 18. 

Council, W. H., and education of negroes, 171. 

County high schools. See High schools, county. 

County superintendents, appointment and duties, 
116-117; 'average salary in 1874-75, 109; protest 
against selecting from among lawyers and politi- 
cians, 121. 

County system, basis of administration, 143-144. 

Coursesof study, 65-67; flexible, for ungraded 
country schools, 126; tendency to develop into 
cultural, 136. 

Curry, J. L. M., on education In Alabama, 128-129. 

Curry collection, 6. 

Dayton Literary Association, authorized to confer 
degrees, 21. 

Deaf and dumb, education, 182. 

Decatur , public schools. See City schools. 

Degrees, 20-21. 

De Narvaez, early visit, 7. 

De Soto, exploration, 7. 

District agrieiiltural schools, organization, and his- 
tory, 17&-180. 

Du Bose, J. C, associate professor of secondary edu- 
cation in University of Alabama, 185. 

Duval, G, B. , on educational conditions in Alabama, 

Economy in administrative expenses, 96. 

Educational fund. See School fund. 

Educational institutions (1850), 55. 

Educational journalism, 125-126, 160. 

Educational legislation. See School laws. 

Enrollment, 69, 106, 120, 148, 198. 

Eufaula, public schools. See City schools. 

Evergreen Male and Female Academy, no spirits 
to be sold in vicinity, 21. 

Examinations, teachers, correction of evils, 136. 

Expenditures, school, statistics, 200-201. 

Explorations, French and Spanish, 7-8. 

Feagin, Supt., on school improvement, 202. 

Fleming, W. L., on State system oi textbooks, 95. 

Franklin Academy, holding of land, 20. 

Franklin Female Academy, exempted from taxa- 
tion, 19. 

Freedman's Bureau, work, 169. 

Funds public, schools supported in part, 23-25. 

General Education Board, and professorships of 
secondary education, 184-185. 




Georgia, contention between United States, 8; rela- 
tion to Alabama, 15. 

Girls' Industrial School. See Alabama Girls' Tech- 
nical Institute. 

Glover, E. C, on free textbooks, 148. 

Graded schools, progress, 126. 

Green Academy, establishment, 18; funds for 
schools, 24. 

Greenville Academy, property, 19. 

Gunnels, H . C, and public schools of Alabama, 139. 

Harris, E. R., on education in Alabama, 147. 

Harris, J. G., and public schools in Alabama, 127. 

Henry County Academy, lottery for buildings, 19. 

High school commission, 185. 

High schools, county, history, 184. 

Hill, I. W., and public schools of Alabama, 142. 

Hobdy, J. JB., supervision of rural schools, 175. 

Hodgson, Joseph, first conservative superintendent, 
96; on depressing elements in school life, 100; on 
negro education, 85-86. 

Howard College, allowed to grant degrees, 21. 

Hundley, O. H., and amendment of' the constitu- 
tion, 130. 

Hundley constitutional amendment, 127-134. 

HuntsviUe Library Co., incorporation, 18. 

Huntsville State Colored Normal and Industrial 
School, work, 171. 

Illiteracy, statistics, 194-195. 

Immigration, development, 9-15. 

Income, school (1874-75), 110. 

Indian trails, lines of travel of immigrants, 12-13. 

Indians, mission schools, 23-24, 

Industrial education, negroes, 171-172. 

Industrial school for white girls, established, 131. 

Industrial schools, 23-24, 182-184. 

Jefferson Academy, establishment, 19; funds raised 
by lottery, 18. 

Journalism, educational. See Educational jour- 

Lafayette (Female) Academy, memorial to Congress 
for quarter section of land, 24. 

La Grange College, charter and plans enlarged, 22; 
establishment, 19. 

Lancastrian plan for school, Huntsville, 19. 

Land grants, sixteenth sections (1819-1914), public 
school support, 26-41. 

Land notes, sixteenth-section, 119. 

La Salle, idea of French Empire, 7. 

Laws, school. See School laws. 

Legislation, school. See School laws. 

Libraries and library organizations, rural schools, 

Lotteries, for educational purposes. See Private 

Louisiana, Province of, encouragement of immigra- 
tion by English, 10-11. 

McGehee College, chartered, 22. 

Madison College, incorporation, 20. 

McKleroy, J. M., on educational conditions in Ala- 
bama, 106-109. 

Manual Labor Institute of South Alabama. See 
Madison College. 

Martin, W. J., on school lands, 39. 

Masonic University, established, 22. 

Medical College of the State of Alabama, chartered, 

Meek, A. B., and establishment of public school 
system, 58-63. 

Military education, appropriations, 79. 

Milton Academy, lottery for buildings, 18. 

Mission schools, for Indians, 23-24. 

Mobile, history of public schools, 162; income and 
expenditures of schools, statistics, 47; local taxa- 
tion for schools, 122; loss in annual revenue, 151; 
oldest settlement, 11; rise of public schools, 42-47; 
struggle between the old regime and the new, 

Mobile College, establishment, 20. 

Mobile County, system of schools, 115. 

Montgomery, public schools. See City schools. 

Montgomery Academy, lottery for buildings, 18. 

M'oulton Library Company, establishment, 18. 

Negroes, entitled to share of sixteenth-section fund, 
85-86; illiteracy, 194; schools, 156-157, 168-172, 175, 
198-202; statistics, 9; suffrage, 191. 

Normal institutes, supported by Peabodv fund, 125 

Normal schools, history and activities, 125, 155-161- 
statistics, 200-201; white male teachers, at Flor- 
ence, 101. 

North Alabama College, chartered, 22. 
O'Neal, Governor, on educational legislation in 
Alabama, 153-154. 

Opelika, public schools. See City schools. 

Organization of schools, weakness of law of 1854 
64-65. ' 

Owen, T. M., and rural school libraries, 177-178. 

Palmer, Solomon, and public schools of Alabama 
120. ' 

Paterson, W. B., and negro education, 170. 

Peabody fund, and normal institutes, 125; training 
teachers, 157-158. 

Pedagogy, professorship. University of Alabama. 

PeiTy, W, F., and sixteenth-section funds, 116; 
on character and value of schoolhouses, 70; on 
condition of public schools, 56-57; defense of the 
county superintendents, 74; on increase of school 
fund, 70; on organization of schools, 63-64; on the 
textbook question, 77. 

Phillips, J. H., on local taxation of schools, 124. 

Phylomathian Society, establishment, 19. 

Pickett, A. J., on immigration to Louisiana, 11 . 

Pierce, John, and establishment of first American 
school, 17. 

Population, census of 1880, 14-15; statistical view of 
growth from 1800-1910, 9; statistical view of the 
sources, 1850-1900, 9; white, in 1850, 55. 

Population, school, statistics, 197. 

Porter, B. F., and sixteenth section grants, 30-32. 

Property, school, statistics, 197; value, 174. 

Private schools, before the Civil War, 16-25; im- 
portance, 126. 

Public and private schools, differentiation between, 

Public schools, reorganization and progress (1876- 
1898), 114-134; (1856-1865), work, 69-83. 

Reading circles, teachers, history, 159; organiza- 
tion, 125. 

Reconstruction period, schools during, 84-113. 

Redistrictiag public schools, 142-143. 

Revenues, school, statistics, 199-200. 

Reynolds, R. M., on sale of school lands, 36-37. 

Roads, improvement by Federal Government, 13, 

Rural schools, libraries and library organizations 
177-178; statistics, 173-176. 

Rutland, J. R., and secondary education, 186. 

Ryan, J. B., on educational conditions in Alabama, 

St. Stephens Academy, establishment, 18. 

Salaries, coimty superintendents. See County su- 
perintendents' salaries. 

Salaries, teachers. See Teachers' salaries. 

School administration, 50. 

School attendance, discussion, 196. 

School codes of 1877 and 1879, 116, 119. 

School districts, creation of separate, 132; power to 
levy taxes, 122-124; taxation, 127. 

School expenditures, statistics, 200, 201. 

School fund, 58, 62, 107, 124, 135; administration of 
sixteenth section land, 26-41; apportionment, 75- 
76, 85, 97-98; appropriation during war period, 
79; distributed in the year 1856, 69-70; income, 
69,73; indebtedness of State to, 34, 35; insufficient 
to meet needs, 150; principal of the sixteenth sec- 
tion, 41; tmder constitution of 1901, 145. 

Schoolhouses, 44-45; character and value, 70-71; 
criticism, 144-145; issuing bonds for, 136; need of 
better, 126; rural, 172-173. 

School Improvement Association, and rural school 
work, 176. 

School indemnity lands, sale, 131. 

School laws, discussion, 71-73, 101-113; first passed, 
42-43; general administration of schools, 149; his- 
tory, 60-64; organization of public schools, 48-50; 
teachers' certificates, 149-150. See also School 

School money, law regarding apportionment, 40. 

School organization, weakness of law of 1854, 64-66. 

School population, in the year 1856, 69; statistics, 



School property, statistics, 197, 202, 

School revenues, statistics, 199-200. 

School system, resume oi history and conditions, 

School term, in 1887-88, 124; minimum length fixed, 

School township, first incorporation, 27. 

School year, statistics, 197. 

Secondary education, and the University of Ala- 
bama, 184-185. 

Secondary schools. See High schools. 

Selma, public schools. See City schools. 

Settlements, early territorial days, 11-13. 

Shepherd, C. O., on general interpretation of school 
law, 72-73. 

Sibley, J. L., supervision of negro rm-al schools, 175. 

Sixteenth-section land notes, 119. 

Slaughter, J. N., on method of selecting State and 
county superintendents, 121. 

Smith, Walter, on public-school buildings, 44. 

Solemn Grove Academy, annual income, 18. 

Somerville, James, on educational provisions of the 
constitution of 1875, 115-116. 

Southern Military Academy, funds raised by lot- 
tery, 22. 

Southwest Alabama Agricultural School and Ex- 
periment Station, work, 179. 

Sparta Academy, lottery for buildings, 18. 

Speed, J. H., on educational experiences of the past, 

Spring Hill College, permitted to confer degrees, 20. 

State board of education, establishment and func- 
tions, 87-88. 

State school svstem, experimental period in organ- 
ization, 48-57; organization, 58-68. 

State superintendent of schools, 56-57, 89-90, 96, 119- 
120, 135, 146, 202; duties, 61, 67-68; protest against 
selecting fi-om among lawyers and politicians, 121. 

Statistics of educational institutions, public and 
private, 50. 

Statistics' of public schools, 69-70, 7&-79, 105-106, 
124-125, 148, 197-202; Reconstruction period, 94. 

Summer schools, 144. 

Summerfield Female Seminary, establishment, 

Superintendent, State. See State superintendent of 

Superintendents, county. See County superintend- 

Supervision, county, progress, 137; lack of efficient, 
in school act, 62; private schools, 16-17; rural 
schools, 174-175. 

Supreme Court of the United States, decision 
regarding school lands, 40. 

Taxation, public schools, increase in 1898-99, 121; 
local, 122-124, 133, 135-136; methods, 151; no law 
exempting school property tUl 1832, 16; recom- 
mendations, 151-152; school districts, 127; special 
districts, 126; under constitution of 1901, 140-142 

Taylor, ,T. B ., on educational conditions in Alabama, 

Teachers, examination and certification, 144; exam- 
inations, correction of evils, 136; exempted from 
military service in 182&-26, 24; statistics, 197; total 
expenditures for, 200-201; training. See Normal 

Teachers' associations, discussion, 158-159; organic 
zation, 125. 

Teachers' certificates, legislation, 149-150. 

Teachers' institutes, new law passed, 158; organi- 
zation, 125. 

Teachers' salaries, difference between city and rural 
instructors, 150; high schools, 186; in 1867-72, 101; 
Reconstruction period, 94. 

Tennessee, relation to Alabama, 15. 

Textbook commission, created, 136. 

Textbooks, 66-67, 77; changes and variations, 126; 
State system during Reconstruction period, 95.. 

Thomas, J. S., and secondary education, 186. 

Township, school, first incorporation, 27. 

Tuition fees, public schools, 137. 

Turner, J. O., and public schools of Alabama, 131. 

Tuscaloosa, public schools. See City schools. 

Tascaloosa Female Academy, raising funds by 
lottery, 19. 

Tuscaloosa Librarj^ Company, property, 19. 

Tuskegee Normal School, establishment and work, 

United States Commissioner of Education, and 

education in Alabama, 127. 
University of Alabama, and secondary education, 

184-185; summer school, 144. 
Valley Creek Academy, grant of lands, 24. 
Washington, Booker T., and negro education, 169, 

Washington Academy, establishment, 17. 
Wesleyan Female Academy, incorporation, 20. 
West Florida, reorganization of territory by Eng- 
lish, 8. 
Wilcox Society, property, 19, 
Willingham, H, J., and public schools in Alabama, 

146; on school attendance, 196. 
Winston, Governor, vetoes various college and 

academy acts, 16. 
Winston, J. A., on county superintendents, 73. 
Women, education, 18-19, 20-21, 24-25, 131, 182-183. 

See also Private schools. 

75075°— 15- 



[Note.— With the exceptions indicated, the documents named below will be sent free of charge upon 
application to the Commissioner of Education, Washington, D. C. Those marked with an asterisk (*) 
are no longer available for free distribution, but may be had of the Superintendent of Documents, Govern- 
ment Printing Office, Washington, D. C, upon payment of the price stated. Remittances should be made 
in coin, currency, or money order. Stamps are not accepted. Documents marked with a dagger (f) are 
out of print.] 


fNo. 1. Education bill of 1906 for England and Wales as it passed the House of Commons. Anna T. Smith. 
fNo. 2. German vie^^■s of American education, with particular reference to industrial development. 

William N. Hailmann. 
*No. 3. State school systems: Legislation and judicial decisions relating to public education, Oct. 1, 1904, 

to Oct. 1, 1906. Edward C Elliott. 15 cts. 


fNo. 1. The continuation school in the United States. Arthur J. Jones. 
tNo. 2. AgricultiTral education, including nature study and school gardens. James R. Jewell. 
fNo. 3. The auxiliary schools of Germany. Six lectures by B. Maennel. 
No. 4. The elimination of pupils from school. Edward L. Thomdike. 


fNo. 1. On the training of persons to teach agriculture in the pubhc schools. Liberty H. Bailey. 

fNo. 2. List of publications of the United States Bureau of Education, 1867-1907. 

fNo. 3. Bibliography of education for 1907. James IngersoU Wyer, jr., and Martha L. Phelps. 

fNo. 4. Music education in the United States; schools and departments of music. Arthur L. Manchester. 

*No. 5. Education in Formosa. Julean H. Arnold. 10 cts. 

*No. 6. The apprenticeship system in its relation to industrial education. Carroll D. Wright. 15 cts. 

fNo. 7, State school systems: II. Legislation and judicial decisions relating to pubhc education, Oct. 1, 

1906, to Oct. 1, 1908. Edward C. Elliott. 
fNo. 8 . Statistics of State universities and other institutions of higher education partially supported by the 

State 1907-8. 


*No. 1. Facilities for study and research in the offices of the United States Government in Washington. 

Arthur T. Hadley. 10 cts. 
*No. 2. Admission of Chinese students to American colleges. John Fryer. 25 cts. 
*No. 3. Daily meals of school children. Caroline L. Hunt. 10 cts. 

fNo. 4. The teaching staff of secondary schools in the United States; amount of education, length of expe- 
rience, salaries. Edward L. Thomdike. 
No. 5. Statistics of pubhc, society, and school hbraries in 1908. 
*No. 6. Instruction in the fine and manual arts in the United States. A statistical monograph. Henry 

T. Bailey. 15 cts. 
No. 7. Index to the Reports of the Commissioner of Education, 1867-1907. 
♦No. 8. A teacher's professional library. Classified hst of 100 titles. 5 cts. 
*No. 9. Bibhogi-aphy of education for 1908-9. 10 cts. 
No. 10. Education for efficiency in raihoad service. J. Shirley Eaton. 

*No. 11. Statistics of State universities and other institutions of higher education partially supported by 
the State, 1908-9. 5 cts. 


*No. 1. The movement for reform in the teaching of religion in the pubhc schools of Saxony. Arley B. 

Show. 5 cts. 
No. 2. State school systems: IH. Legislation and judicial decisions relating to pubhc education, Oct. 1, 

1908, to Oct. 1, 1909. Edward C. ElUott. 
fNo. 3. List of pubUcations of the United States Bureau of Education, 1867-1910. 
tNo. 4. The biological stations of Europe. Charles A. Kofoid. 
*No. 5, American schoolhouses. Fletcher B. Dresslar. 75 cts. 
fNo. 6. Statistics of State universities and other institutions of higher education partially supported by 

the State, 1909-10. 




*No. 1. Bibliography of science teaching. 5 cts. 

*No. 2. Opportunities for graduate study in agriculture in the United States. A. C. Monahan. 5 cts. 

*No, 3. Agencies for the improvement of teachers in service. William C. Ruediger. 15 cts. 

*No. 4, Report of the commission appointed to study the system of education in the public schools of 

Baltimore. 10 cts. 
*No. 5. Age and grade census of schools and colleges. George D. Strayer. 10 cts. 
*No. 6. Graduate work in mathematics in universities and in other institutions of like grade in the United 

States. 5 cts. 
fNo. 7. Undergraduate work in mathematics in colleges and universities. 
tNo. 8. Examinations in mathematics, other than those set by the teacher for his own classes. 
No. 9. Mathematics in the technological schools of collegiate grade in the United States. 
fNo. 10. Bibliography of education for 1909-10. 
tNo. 11. BibUography of child study for the years 1908-9. 
tNo. 12. Training of teachers of elementary and secondary mathematics. 
*No. 13. Mathematics in the elementary schools of the United States. 15 cts. 
*No. 14. Provision for exceptional children in the public schools. J. H. Van Sickle, Lightner Witmer, 

and Leonard P. Ay res. 10 cts. 
*No. 15. Educational system of China as recently reconstructed. Harry E. King. 10 cts. 
tNo. 16. Mathematics in the pubUc and private secondary schools of the United States. 
tNo. 17. List of pubhcations of the United States Bureau of Education, October, 1911. 
tNo. 18. Teachers' certificates issued under general State laws and regulations. H. Updegraff. 
No. 19. Statistics of State universities and other institutions of higher education partially supported by 
the State, 1910-11. 


*No. 1. A coin-se of study for the preparation of rural-school teachers. F. Mutchler and W.J. Craig. 5 cts. 
tNo. 2. Mathematics at West Point and Annapolis. 
*No. 3. Report of committee on uniform records and reports. 5 cts. 
*No. 4. Mathematics in technical secondaiy schools in the United States. 5 cts. 
*No. 5. A study of expenses of city school systems. Harlan Updegraff. 10 cts. 
*No. 6. Agricultural education in secondary schools. 10 cts. 
*No. 7. Educational status of nursing. M. Adelaide Nutting. 10 cts. 
*No. 8. Peace day. Fannie Fern Andrews. 5 cts. [Later publication, 1913, No. 12, 10 cts.) 
*No. 9. Cotmtry schools for city boys. William S. Myers. 10 cts. 
tNo. 10. BibUography of education in agriculture and home economics. 
tNo. 11. Current educational topics. No. I. 

tNo. 12. Dutch schools of New Netherland and colonial New York. WiUiam H. Kilpatrick. 
.'*No. 13. Influences tending to improve the work of the teacher of mathematics. 5 cts. 
*No. 14. Report of the American commissioners of the international commission on the teaching of mathe- 
matics. 10 cts. 
tNo. 15. Current educational topics, No. II. 
tNo. 16. The reorganized school playground. Henry S. Curtis. 
*No. 17. The Montessori system of education. Anna T. Smith. 5 cts. 
*No. 18. Teaching language through agriculture and domestic science. M. A. Leiper 5 cts. 
*No. 19. Professional distribution of college and imiversity graduates. Bailey B. Burritt. 10 cts. 
tNo. 20. Readjustment of a ruial high school to the needs of the community. H. A. Brown. 
tNo. 21. Urban and rural common-school statistics. Harlan Updegraff and William R. Hood. ; 

No. 22. Pubhc and private high schools, i 

*No. 23. Special collections in libraries in the United States. W. D. Johnston and I. G. Mudge. 10 cts. 
tNo. 24. Current educational topics. No. III. i 

tNo. 25. List of publications of the United States Bureau of Education, 1912. ' 

tNo. 26. BibUography of child study for the years 1910-11. I 

No. 27. History of pubUc-school education in Arkansas. Stephen B. Weeks. 
*No. 28. Cultivating school grounds in Wake County, N. C. Zebulon Judd. 5 cts. i 

No. 29. BibUography of the teaching of mathematics, 1900-1912. D. E. Smith and Chas. Goldziher. ) 

No. 30. Latin- American universities and special schools. Edgar E. Brandon. i 

tNo. 31. Educational directory, 1912. 4 

tNo. 32. BibUography of exceptional children and their education. Arthur MacDonald. | 

tNo. 33. Statistics of State universities and other institutions of higher education partially supported by i 

the State, 1912. i 

1913. * 

No. 1. Monthly record of current educational pubUcations, January, 1913. 
*No. 2. Training coiurses for rural teachers. A. C. Monahan and R. H. Wright. 5 cts. 
*No. 3. The teaching of modem languages in the United States. Charles H. Handschin. 15 cts. 
'*No. 4. Present standards of higher education in the United States. George E. MacLean. 20 cts. 
tNo. 5. Monthly record of current educational publications. February, 1913. 


*No. 6. Agricultural instruction iu high schools. C. H. Robison and F. B. Jenks. 10 cts. 

*No. 7. College entrance requirements. Clarence D. Kingsley. 15 cts. 

*No. 8. The status of rural education in the United States. A. C. Monahan. 15 cts. 

fNo. 9. Consular reports on continuation schools in Prussia. 

tNo. 10. Monthly record of current educational publications, March, 1913. 

fNo. 11. Monthly record of current educational publications, April, 1913. 

*No. 12. The promotion of peace. Fannie Fern Andrews. 10 cts. 

*No. 13. Standards and tests for measuring the efficiency of schools or systems of schools. 5 cts. 

tNo. 14. Agricultm-al instruction in secondary schools. 

fNo. 15. Monthly record of current educational publications, May, 1913. 

*No. 16; Bibliography of medical inspection and health supervision. 15 cts. 

fNo. 17. A trade school for girls. A preliminary investigation in a typical manufacturing city, Worcester, 

*No. 18. The fifteenth international congress on hygiene and demography. Fletcher B. Dresslar. 10 cts. 
*No. 19. German industrial education and its lessons for the United States. Holmes Beckwith. 15 cts. 
*No. 20. Illiteracy in the United States. 10 cts. 

fNo. 21. Monthly record of current educational publications, June, 1913. 
*No. 22. Bibliography of industrial, vocational, and trade education. 10 cts. 
♦No. 23. The Georgia club at the State Normal School, Athens, Ga., for the study of rural sociology. E. C. 

Branson. 10 cts. 
*No. 24. A comparison of public education in Germany and in the United States. Georg Kerschensteiner. 

5 cts. 
*No. 25. Industrial education in Columbus, Ga. Roland B. Daniel. 5 cts. 
fNo. 26. Good roads arbor day. Susan B. Sipe. 
tNo. 27. Prison schools. A. C. Hill. 

*No. 28. Expressions on education by American statesmen and publicists. 5 cts. 
*No. 29. Accredited secondary schools in the United States. Kendric C. Babcock. 10 cts. 
*No. 30. Education in the South. 10 cts. 
*No. 31. Special featxires in city school systems. 10 cts. 

No. 32. Educational survey of Montgomery County, Md. 
tNo. 33. Monthly record of cmrent educational publications, September, 1913. 
*No. 34. Pension systems in Great Britain. Raymond W. Sies. 10 cts. 
*No. 35. A list of books suited to a high-school library. 15 cts. 
*No. 36. Report on the work of the Bureau of Education for the natives of Alaska, 1911-12. 10 cts. 

No. 37. Monthly record of current educational publications, October, 1913. 
*No. 38. Economy of time in education. 10 cts. 

No. 39. Elementary industrial school of Cleveland, Ohio. W. N. Hailmann. 
*No. 40. The reorganized school playground. Henry S. Curtis. 10 cts. 
*No. 41. The reorganization of secondary education. 10 cts. 

No. 42. An experimental rural school at Winthrop College. H. S. Browne. 
*No. 43. Agriculture and rural-life day; material for its observance. Eugene C. Brooks. 10 cts. 
*No. 44. Organized health work in schools. E. B. Hoag. 10 cts. 

No. 45. Monthly record of current educational publications, November, 1913. 
*No. 46. Educational directory, 1913. 15 cts. 

*No. 47. Teaching material in Government publications. F. K. Noyes. 10 cts. 
*No. 48. School hygiene. W. Carson Ryan, jr. 15 cts. 

No. 49. The Farragut School, a Tennessee country-life high school. A. C. Monahan and Adams Phillips. 
*No. 50. The Fitchburg plan of cooperative industrial education. M. R. McCann. 10 cts. 
*No. 51. Education of the immigrant. 10 cts. 
*No. 52. Sanitary schoolhouses. Legal requirements in Indiana and Ohio. 5 cts. 

No. 53. Monthly record of current educational publications, December, 1913. 

No. 54. Consular reports on industrial education in Germany. 

No. 55. Legislation and judicial decisions relating to education, Oct. 1, 1909, to Oct. 1,1912. James C. 

Boykin and WUliam R. Hood. 
tNo. 56. Some suggestive features of the Swiss school system. William Knox Tate. 
tNo. 57. Elementary education in England, with special reference to London, Liverpool, and Manchester. 
I. L. Kandel. 

No. 58. Educational system of rural Denmark. Harold W. Foght. 

No. 59. Bibliography of education for 1910-11. 

No. 60. Statistics of State universities and other institutions of higher education partially supported by 
the State, 1912-13. 


*No. 1. Monthly record of current educational publications, January, 1914. 5 cts. 

No. 2. Compulsory school attendance. 
*No. 3. Monthly record of current educational publications, February, 1914. 5 cts. 

No. 4. The school and the start in life. Meyer Bloomfield. 


No. 5. The folk high schools of Denmark. L. L. Friend. 

No. 6. Kindergartens in the United States. 

No. 7. Monthly record of current educational publications, March, 1914. 

No. 8. The Massachusetts home-project plan of vocational agricultural education. R. W. Stimson. 

No. 9. Monthly record of current educational publications, April, 1914. 
*No. 10. Physical growth and school progress. B. T. Baldwin. 25 cts. 
*No. 11. Monthly record of current educational publications. May, 1914. 5 cts. 
*No. 12. Rural schoolhouses and grounds. F. B. Dresslar. 50 cts. 

No. 13. Present status of drawing and art in the elementary and secondary schools of the United States. 
Royal B. Farnum. 

No. 14. Vocational guidance. 

No. 15. Monthly record of current educational publications. Index. 

No. 16. The tangible rewards of teaching. James C. Boykin and Roberta King. 

No. 17. Sanitary survey of the schools of Orange County, Va. Roy K. Flannagan. 

No. 18. The public-school system of Gary, Ind. William P. Burris. 

No. 19. University extension ta the United States. Louis E. Reber. 

No. 20. The rural school and hookworm disease. J. A. Ferrell. 

No. 21. Monthly record of current educational publications, September, 1914. 

No. 22. The Danish folk high schools. H. W. Foght. 

No. 23. Some trade schools ia Europe. Frank L. Gljnon. 

No. 24. Danish elementary rural schools. H. W. Foght. 

No. 25. Important features in rural school improvement. W. T. Hodges. 

No. 26. Monthly record of current educational publications, October, 1914. 
*No. 27. Agricultural teaching. 15 cts. 

No. 28. The Montessori method and the kindergarten. Elizabeth Harrison. 

No. 29. The kindergarten in benevolent institutions. 

No. 30. Consolidation of rural schools and transportation of pupils at public expense. A. C. Monahan. 

No. 31. Report on the work of the Bureau of Education for the natives of Alaska. 

No. 32. Bibliography of the relation of secondary schools to higher education. R. I.. Walkley. 

No. 33. Music in the public schools. Will Earhart. 

No. 34. Library instruction in universities, colleges, and normal schools. Henry R. Evans. 

No. 35. The training of teachers in England, Scotland, and Germany. Charles H. Judd. 
*No. 36. Education for the home — Part I. General statement. B. R. Andrews. 10 cts. 

No. 37. Education for the home— Part II. State legislation, schools, agencies. B. R. Andrews. 

No. 38. Education for the home— Part III. Colleges and universities. B.R.Andrews. 

No. 39. Education for the home — Part IV. Bibliography, list of schools. B. R. Andrews. 

No. 40. Care of the health of boys in Girard College, Philadelphia, Pa. 

No. 41. Monthly record of ciirrent educational publications, November, 1914. 

No. 42. Monthly record of ciirrent educational publications, December, 1914. 

No. 43. Educational directory, 1914-15. 

No. 44. County-unit organization for the admiaistration of rural schools. A. C. Monahan. 

No. 45. Curricula in mathematics. J. C. Brown. 

No. 46. School savings banks. Mrs. Sara L. Oberholtzer. 

No. 47. City training schools for teachers. Frank A. Manny. 

No. 48. The educational museum of the St. Louis public schools. C. G. Rathman. 

No. 49. Efficiency and preparation of rural school-teachers. H. W. Foght, 

No. 50. Statistics of State universities and State colleges. 


No. 1. Cooking in the vocational school. Iris P. O'Leary. 
No. 2. Monthly record of current educational publications, January, 1915. 
No. 3. Monthly record of current educational publications, February, 1915. 
No. 4. The health of schoolchildren. W. H. Heck. 
No. 5. Organization of State departments of education. A. C. Monahan. 
No. 0. A study of colleges and high schools. 

No. 7. Accredited secondary schools in the United States. Samuel P. Capen. 
No. 8. Present status of the honor system in colleges and universities. Bird T. Baldwin. 
No. 9. Monthly record of current educational publications, March, 1915. 
No. 10. Monthly record of current educational publications, April, 1915. 

No. 11. A statistical study of the public-school systems of the southern Appalachian Mountains Nor- 
man Frost. 
No. 12. History of public-school education in Alabama. Stephen B. Weeks.